SA has done little to solve GBV over past 23 years

Johannesburg – As the world observes the second week of the global campaign against gender-based violence (GBV), two families are still waiting for the police to make a breakthrough in arresting suspects involved in crimes committed against their children.

The family of a 14-year-old girl who was raped, her throat slit and left for dead in Strandfontein beach in Cape Town are relieved that she is recovering and regaining her speech after doctors feared that her vocal cords had been severed, but now fear for the safety of their 11-year-old girl.

“No one has been arrested yet. She is recovering, but it’s awful to see the scar and stitches on her neck.

“She has told us that she was grabbed by two men in a taxi and that there was another girl in the car. We are eight children and my youngest sister is 11 and I fear for her safety too. We hope whoever did this is found and justice is served.

But with so many cases like this, the people who commit the crimes get away,” said her brother.

Sergeant Dawood Suliman of the Western Cape police said the matter was being investigated by the Mitchells Plain family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit.

“No arrests on this matter as yet,” he said.

Antoneat Rosenburg, whose 22-year-old daughter Logan was found hung with shoelaces last month, said the police had taken their statements and they were now waiting for them to investigate.

She said her daughter was last seen with her ex-boyfriend. Her body was found by her brother Aldean Rosenburg, who works with the neighbourhood watch.

Police spokesperson Kay Makhubela said no arrests had been made.

Non-profit organisation Shout-It-Now has bemoaned the little progress that South Africa has made since it joined the global campaign.

Cristianne Wendler of Shout-It-Now, which provides mobile, community-based HIV counselling, testing and prevention services, said each year society renewed calls to eradicate all forms of  GBV but in the 23 years since the country joined campaign little had changed.

“To stop GBV, we need to stop hiding behind an acronym and stop accepting this as the norm.

Let’s have real, honest and uncomfortable conversations that move us to take action.”

Dr Nthabiseng Moleko, a senior lecturer at the University of Stellenbosch Business School and deputy chair of the Commission for Gender Equality, said while the budget allocation to the criminal justice system increased annually, there had not been an associated drop in violent crime.

“Violence against women and children has a price tag.

The R157-billion allocated in 2020 to policing, social services for victims of crime, justice and correctional services is a massive opportunity cost. Those resources could be directed towards
nation-building initiatives.

“South Africa is a very angry society. Unless there is healing in the nation, the behaviour of violence is repeated and becomes inter-generational.

The cycle of abuse must be broken from the side of perpetrators.”

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