Issued by Flow Communications on behalf of GIZ
10 December 2019
For immediate release
No more women should die: Nkoana-Mashabane
Patriarchy is at the core of gender-based violence, but collaboration can reset its course to keep women and girls safe in South Africa
Not another day should go by in which a woman is killed, Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Thursday 5 December 2019.
Nkoana-Mashabane was opening the second, and last, day of the Prevention of Violence Against Women and Girls in Southern Africa conference, organised by Partnerships for Prevention.
“Please, not another day, not another woman killed while we are gathering here [at the conference],” she said.
The conference was taking place in the middle of the annual 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence, an international campaign in which South Africa participates. This is a “difficult moment” in the calendar, said Nkoana-Mashabane, because of the deep trauma South Africans experience from the extreme acts of violence against women, children and the LGBTQ community.
Nkoana-Mashabane said violence in South Africa has its roots in the loss of values that came through the fight against apartheid. This has to change.
“We are here [at the conference] to work in partnership with each other, to win in our lifetime. We are ready,” she said.
Patriarchy is at the core of violence against women and girls, Nkoana-Mashabane said, but by collaborating, South African society can reset its course. She pointed out the irony in the repeated official message that funding for programmes to curb violence is tight.
“We cannot spare a penny,” she said. “But we can spare a life.”
Without meaningful amounts of money, well-trained people assigned to the task and good resources allocated to it, community programmes aimed at reducing and eradicating violence against women and girls will be ineffective, said gender-based violence expert Dr Christine Brendel.
Brendel was delivering the keynote speech at the second day of the conference.
Brendel, who manages the Ecuadorean chapter of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) programme Preventing Violence Against Women, has worked to eradicate violence against women and girls for more than 20 years.
Brendel shared her experiences of working to eradicate violence against women and girls in Latin America, notorious for its culture of machismo and deep-rooted patriarchy.
Quoting former South African president, the late Nelson Mandela, Brendel said, “Freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression.” Violence directed at women is an extreme form of oppression, she said.
Brendel said her work shows that violence against women and girls cuts across society, and requires solutions that also cut across society. However, governments, civil society organisations and the private sector are often reluctant to work together.
“Freedom [for women and for society] comes from taking risks, including taking part in multi-stakeholder partnerships,” she said.
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