Cape Town - The provincial government on Thursday held a candle-lighting ceremony to start 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign.
The ceremony was attended by Premier Alan Winde, Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez, Community and Safety MEC Albert Fritz and director-general Harry Malila.
The ceremony was held to honour the memory of those who lost their lives to gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide, following the approval of the WCG GBV Implementation Plan, which aims to tackle the high levels of violence directed at women, children and LGBTQIA+ people.
In her account, GBV survivor Allison Malan said: “The scars and permanent damage to my body, some invisible to others, remain a constant reminder of the pain and suffering I endured.
“Any violence against women is everyone’s business. We need to break the cycle, listen to and believe survivors. When a woman shares a story of violence, that is when she takes the first step to breaking the cycle of abuse – speak up, stand up for yourself, love yourself.
“Violence against women and children is a human rights violation that has been perpetrated for decades and for far too long.”
In his address, Premier Winde admitted: “I don’t think we are getting it right (with GBV).” He said this was because “we are not spending enough time on the ‘why’.”
He highlighted that too many images are shown of f the victims but not enough images of the perpetrators.
“We need to create an environment that enables people to speak up. So many people can’t speak up because of how they’ve been held captive in the system,” Winde said.
Fernandez spoke as an official but also as a survivor of GBV.
“Our response to GBV and femicide must be intentional and uncompromising.
“It is a commitment of government, civil society partners, other social partners and communities to work together towards a sustained plan of action to curb GBV and femicide.
“The DSD takes its commitment to reducing the scourge of GBV very seriously,” Fernandez said.