Gender Democracy

Children playing outside a shelter for abused women and children
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.
Woman at a shelter for abused women and their children. The shortage of shelters has real effects. When filled to capacity, shelters have no choice but to turn women away, which means they will either be forced to return to their abusive partners or risk homelessness
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.
Engender Resource Kit

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.

Conversations on violence against women

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.

Woman at a Mpumalanga-based shelter for abused women and their children
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.
Resident at a Cape Town shelter

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.

Violence Against Women

Violence against women is a significant problem that profoundly affects the physical and mental wellbeing of those affected. While medicolegal interventions in South Africa have been firmly established to respond to sexual offences, no formal protocols on intimate partner violence interventions at primary healthcare level are in place yet.

Survivors of domestic violence rely on shelters for safety and support navigating the system

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

National Shelter Movement of South Africa

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.

Saartjie - on Domestic Violonce

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.