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Sexual Misconduct in South Africa’s Civil Society Sector

Statement

The Heinrich Böll Foundation is a feminist political foundation working regionally and globally. Gender democracy, the respect for women's dignity and autonomy, and the right to sexual diversity are core values underpinning our efforts to build equitable and just societies.

Shelters for abused women battle to find funds

In the news:

Abused mentally, physically and emotionally by her husband for 15 years, Nadia Louw says at first she did not believe she could be helped at St Anne’s Home. But after living there for three months she finally feels she is at home. Louw is one of thousands of women victims of abuse and domestic violence who seek help in shelters. But shelter managers say funding is a major problem, writes GroundUp.

By Mary-Anne Gontsana

Journalism Fellowship responds to gender-based violence

Listen

Through the support of the HBF and NSM journalism fellowship, youth reporters in South Africa use the platform of radio to speak out against gender based violence and domestic violence. The fellowship was undertaken in partnership with the Children’s Radio Foundation.

By Claudia Lopes

Watch: Seeking Shelter

“When I ran to the bathroom, locked the door behind me thinking I would be safe, he would kick a hole through that door and come through...I had to be obedient because I didn’t want to end up dead.” With these chilling words commences a video on the provision of shelter for abused women. Watch it here...

By Claudia Lopes

Think of those the Fiscus forgot

Opinion:

In his 2018 budget speech, Minister Gigaba emphasised the need to “lend a hand in addressing society's most pressing challenges”. Among a myriad of social challenges facing our country are the ever-present, persisting rates of violence against women and children. Shelters play a critical role in providing women with reprieve from domestic violence - women who, by and large, are economically disenfranchised. It is with this in mind, that the minister's budget must be interrogated.

By Claudia Lopes, Thokozile Madonko

Funding of shelters for abused women is still uncertain post-budget

In the news:

Social protection is an important safety net for the poor yet not all will benefit from this. Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba recently announced government’s plan to increase its spending on social protection from R193.4 billion in the next financial year to R223.9 billion by 2021. Civil society organisations, however, questioned if this commitment to social protection will include sufficient funding for non-profit organisations, including shelters that provide services to vulnerable women and children who fall victim to domestic abuse.

By Alicestine October

Shelters save abused women's lives - so why aren't they funded more?

While February is widely regarded as the month of love, statistics suggest that for this month alone approximately 84 women may be murdered by someone they [had] loved. Recent research by the HBF and NSM reveals that shelters are an effective strategy to the prevention of intimate partner violence, with less than a quarter of women returning to an abusive partner, yet, research has also found that serious funding gaps significantly undermines the efforts of shelters. 

By Natasha Adonis, Claudia Lopes

Women's shelters hamstrung by funding challenges

In the news:

While government has set minimum standards for shelters housing abused women, it fails to offer adequate support to uphold these requirements. The Weekend Argus recently spoke to some shelter managers and survivors of abuse to shed more light on their experiences of providing/accessing shelters.

By Yazeed Kamaldien

Housing Women Who Have Experienced Abuse: Policy, Funding and Practice [Mpumalanga]

This publication is the second of a series of shadow reports that the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the National Shelter Movement of South Africa have produced in relation to their ‘Enhancing State Responsiveness to Gender Based Violence: Paying the True Costs’ project. The publication was partly produced with the Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre to End Violence against Women.
This report was produced with the financial support of the European Union.

Shelter Staff Get Paid So Little for Their Dedication

19 years of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against women and children in SA, but there is little evidence that this campaign has helped curb the horrific levels of violence. Read more...

By Claudia Lopes, Joy Watson, Natasha Adonis

Stay Safe From Domestic Abuse this Festive Season

A national study of shelters for abused women and children suggests that when adequately supported, shelters significantly contribute to women exiting from abusive relationships. Read more...

By Talk of the Town

Covering Sexual and Gender Minorities & Religion in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Reporting Guide for Journalists

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In Sub-Saharan Africa, as in much of the world, reporting on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression (SOGIE) can be tricky. Cultural taboos, entrenched stereotypes, social hostilities, legal prohibitions and editorial censorship often distort coverage of these sensitive topics. Add religion to the mix and producing responsible journalism on sexual and gender minorities can seem impossible.

Shelter Services to Domestic Violence Victims – Policy Approaches to Strengthening State Responses

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This policy brief considers the provision of shelter services to victims of domestic violence and is done in relation to the Heinrich Böll Foundation (HBF) and the National Shelter Movement of South Africa‘s (NSM) “Enhancing State Responsiveness to GBV: Paying the True Costs” project. Funded by the European Union, this project aims to support state accountability for adequate and effective provision of domestic violence survivor support programmes, specifically those associated with the provision of shelter for abused women.

Former Domestic Abuse Victim Empowers Women in Similar Situations

Through a journalist fellowship associated to their “Enhancing State Responsiveness to Gender-Based Violence: Paying the True Costs” EU-funded project, HBF and the National Shelter Movement of South Africa raise awareness of domestic violence and the importance of shelter services to survivors.  In this article, Health E-News citizen journalist Lindiwe Msibi, tells the story of one courageous woman who survived being shot and stabbed by her abusive husband and how she, and her children, found the reprieve they needed through various shelters for women.
By Lindiwe Msibi

Domestic Violence, Rape & Ritual Killings Plague Vhembe

In this article, Health E-News citizen journalist Ndivhuwo Mukwevho, reports on the services of Limpopo-based Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme and their concerns about the increase in murder and other forms of violence committed against women in the community. On average the organisation attends to 120 new cases of domestic violence, mostly related to intimate partner violence, and 40 rape cases a month. This article is one of several being produced through a journalist fellowship to raise awareness of domestic violence and the importance of shelter services. The fellowship is associated to HBF and National Shelter Movement of South Africa's “Enhancing State Responsiveness to Gender-Based Violence: Paying the True Costs” EU-funded project
By Ndivhuwo Mukwevho

'Speak-Up and Walk Away' Says Domestic Abuse Survivor

HBF and the National Shelter Movement of South Africa, through a journalist fellowship, have partnered with Health E-News, a television and print news service, to raise awareness of domestic violence and the importance of shelter services. This partnership is associated to the “Enhancing State Responsiveness to Gender-Based Violence: Paying the True Costs” EU-funded project. In this article, citizen journalist Ndivhuwo Mukwevho, shares the story of one rural woman’s experience of domestic violence and her wish to inspire others to break the silence on abuse against women.
By Ndivhuwo Mukwevho

Shelter offers abused women second chances

HBF and the National Shelter Movement of South Africa have embarked on a journalist fellowship with Health E-News, a television and print news service, to raise awareness of domestic violence and the importance of shelter services. This partnership is associated to the “Enhancing State Responsiveness to Gender-Based Violence: Paying the True Costs” EU-funded project. In this article, Health E-News citizen journalist Ndivhuwo Mukwevho, gives us insight into the vital services that the Ekuphumleni Restoration Home offers abused women.

 
 
By Ndivhuwo Mukwevho

Domestic Violence Blamed on Unemployment and Poverty

HBF and the National Shelter Movement of South Africa have partnered with Health E-News, a television and print news service, to raise awareness of domestic violence and the importance of shelter services. This partnership is associated to the “Enhancing State Responsiveness to Gender-Based Violence: Paying the True Costs” EU-funded project. In this article, citizen journalist Lindiwe Msibi, tells the story of a woman's first experience of physical abuse after her boyfriend lost his job. She also provides information on the services that the Nisaa Institute for Women's Development shelter offers abused women.  
By Lindiwe Msibi

Abusive Relationship Forces Woman into Sex Work

HBF and the National Shelter Movement of South Africa have partnered with Health E-News, a television and print news service producing news and analysis for national media, to raise awareness of domestic violence. This partnership is associated to the “Enhancing State Responsiveness to Gender-Based Violence: Paying the True Costs” EU-funded project. In this article, citizen journalist Lindiwe Msibi, shares the story of a woman’s experience of domestic violence and the services that are available, such as those offered by the shelters of People Opposing Women Abuse, for women in similar circumstances.
By Lindiwe Msibi

Fight Against Abuse Not Over

June 16th is a day for deep introspection when the country honours and celebrates young people who had the courage and determination to rise up against the apartheid state 41 years ago. There is however little to celebrate in light of the excessive levels of violence and sexual abuse being perpetrated against children and the youth in our country every day. June must therefore also be a month in which we ask some serious questions about what role government plays in ensuring a strong democratic South Africa for future generations.
By Claudia Lopes

South Africa’s Domestic Violence Shelters Forced to Turn Women Away

South Africa has had a Domestic Violence Act since 1998, but its critics say the law is ineffective. Women & Girls recently spoke to Claudia Lopes, project manager of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, about the challenges of tackling domestic violence in South Africa and what needs to be done to ensure women can leave abusive relationships quickly and safely.
By Jen Thorpe

Engender Resource Kit

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Engender is a television series focussing on feminism, gender issues and related concepts. The first 3 episodes of the pilot series explored the concept of feminism; feminism and intersectionality; and gendered representations in the media. The Engender Resource Kit mirrors the episodes and was developed from research undertaken for the series.

Challenging Patriarchy - Conversations on Violence Against Women

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More than twenty years into democracy acts of violence against women have not visibly decreased in South Africa. This publication unpacks the many inter-related factors that continuously contribute to high levels of violence against women and hopes to contribute to more strategic and collaborative action.

State Budget Short-Changes Victims of Domestic Violence

Stakeholders working to combat Gender-Based Violence question to what extent the 2017/18 budget reflect government’s commitment to effectively meet the true costs associated with addressing violence against women and children.
By Claudia Lopes, Nokukhanya Mncwabe, Chiedza Chagutah

Holidays Not Jolly Time for All

While the holiday season brings quality family time, it also brings out a more sinister side of many households. According the provincial branch of the National Shelter Movement (NSM), the season is a time of increased risk of domestic violence and intimate partner violence.

By Nicole Mccain

System Fails Women Desperate for Safety

Domestic violence survivors rely on shelters to help leave life threatening relationships – and navigate the obstacles of the criminal justice system.

By Amy Green

On the Air: Supporting State Accountability for Sheltering Services for Abused Women

Shelters for abused women play a critical role in providing protection, care and psychosocial support to those affected by Gender-Based Violence. The Domestic Violence Act (1998) enshrines the state’s obligation to provide survivors of abuse with shelters, but whilst the act is a crucial piece of legislation, the provision of sheltering services has not been without its challenges. HBS Project Manager Claudia Lopes recently spoke to SAfm about a new project which aims to support state accountability for adequate and effective provision of domestic violence survivor support programmes, specifically those associated with the provision of shelter for abused women.

Counting the True Costs of Domestic Violence for Youth and Children in South Africa

June is notable for having two commemorative days dedicated to younger persons: International Children’s Day1 on the 1 st of June and South Africa’s Youth Day on June 16. Sadly, however, there remains very little for young people in South Africa to celebrate, particularly in the light of excessive levels of violence and sexual abuse directly targeting or negatively impacting young persons.

By Claudia Lopes, Chiedza Chagutah, Nokukhanya Mncwabe

News Release: New Initiative Urges Government to Step Up Against Domestic Violence

In a new project launching tomorrow (Friday, 20 May) – Enhancing State Responsiveness to Gender-Based Violence: Paying the True Costs – the National Shelter Movement (NSM) of South Africa joins forces with the Heinrich Böll Foundation (HBF) Southern Africa to keep the spotlight squarely focused on domestic violence in South Africa (SA) and how government interventions meet the diverse needs of survivors.

TV Series to Promote Gender Equality

Gender-based violence, and in particular violence aimed at women, cost South Africa between R28.4 billion and R42.4bn for the period 2012/2013. This, according to a KPMG report, “Too costly to ignore – the economic impact of gender-based violence in South Africa”, represented 0.9 percent and 1.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), respectively.

By Nontando Mposo

Abuse Mural Moves Residents to Art

Cape Town - A striking mural in Khayelitsha about the abuse of women has had an unusual effect on residents, who say they want more paintings depicting the problems facing their communities.

By Asanda Sokanyile

What we do

Realising substantive gender equality in South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe has been challenging. Progressive legislation and policies have not always been translated into effective government programmes. Some of the gains that have been achieved are being threatened by rising traditionalism and reactionary populism. Lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people and communities in the region remain disadvantaged, stigmatised and excluded from many aspects of economic, political and social life.

Public and political awareness-raising and the prevention of gender based and sexual violence are therefore core focus areas of our work. We also partner with key civil society actors as well as public and religious thought leaders to effectively challenge homophobic policies, legislations and attitudes.