Stakeholders from City of Johannesburg Region C vowed to help the government in the fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV) on 31 October when Government Communication Information System (GCSI) brought together government representatives and stakeholders from Cosmo City, Diepsloot and Zandspruit to discuss social problems in their communities. Gender Based Violence affects the physical, spiritual and social well-being of the people, stakeholders said during the meeting.
“Domestic violence seems to be ever increasing in our communities,” said Mthethuvumile Gqongo, a community development worker from the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA). “We are going to support any government initiative to fight against Gender Based Violence. We need to develop communities where men are not abusive to their families.”
Unemployment is one of the factors leading to the rise of GBV, Gqongo added.
“I think we can help fighting against GBV by creating jobs to the community members,” he said. “Men who are not working tend to be more frustrated, which makes them likely to become violent to their wives. So by creating more jobs, we can help government tackle these social problems,” Gqongo said.
Violence against Women has been labeled a serious problem in South Africa. Awful stories of intimate partner violence have been highlighted in the media since #MenAreTrash went viral. According to government reports, death of women due to GBV is on the rise in South Africa. Statistics show that the murder rate for women rose drastically by 117% since 2015.
Most domestic violent activities are caused by relationships for personal gains,StephinahBoshielo of Cosmo City Women’s Forum said.
“I think the mixture of different backgrounds we have in our country has led to some destructive relationships,” said Boshielo. “Some people come into South Africa targeting to get citizenships through marriages. When they get that citizenship, violence erupts because that relationship was just for personal gains. However, not every foreigner does that.”
GCSI Regional Communications Coordinator PakengMatsese said the aim of the meeting was to create awareness about gender based violence.
“Our aim is to have different stakeholders discussing a possible way forward to stop GBV,” he said.