CSVR's 2017 research study "Violence against Women in South Africa: A Country in Crisis" raises critical concerns by women around the many calls for survivors to break the silence on gender based violence (GBV) in spite of the limited social support services and lack of confidence in the criminal justice system.
"The fear of reprisals, of not being believed, and the stigma borne by the survivor—not the perpetrator—has silenced the voices of many survivors of violence and masked the true extent of women's continued experiences of violence," said CSVR Gender Specialist, Nonhlanhla Sibanda-Moyo.
The recent acts of gender based violence as seen in a number of social media reports, including the recent abuse of Bongekile Simelane (stage name: Babes Wodumo) by her long term partner Mandla Maphumulo (commonly known as Mampintsha), raise a lot of concerns around how society engages with and responds to survivors who break the silence on abuse.
"The responses to this video on social media and other platforms, demonstrate the challenges that many survivors face when they speak out on violence. Women are continually encouraged to speak out against gender based violence, yet what happens when they do? How does society respond? Survivors get blamed. Instead of holding perpetrators accountable, women and girls who experience violence are often blamed and their testimonies systematically put in doubt" said CSVR Executive Director, Nomfundo Mogapi.
CSVR is calling on government, civil society organisations, the media and communities to end the culture of silencing and impunity and to put survivors at the centre of the conversation and response to GBV.
The creation of an enabling environment for survivors to speak out, as well the continued provision of much needed psychosocial support and other relevant GBV services is critical to encouraging women to report incidences of violence.
When survivors have decided to speak out, it is critical for them to access essential multi-sectoral and coordinated GBV services, which remain gravely inadequate. More attention is needed to the provision of required essential psychosocial support and to transforming the criminal justice system to be more responsive to the needs and priorities of survivors.
For more information and interviews, contact:
Tel: +27 11 403 5650
Cell: +27 71 880 6630
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org