Residents vent dismay at gender-based violence

Xola Qosha and Kashiefa Achmat from the Housing Assembly joined more than 200 picketers in Jakes Gerwel Drive to speak out against gender-based violence.

Bonteheuwel residents joined the team from Action Aid South Africa’s I Define Me project with a picket on Jakes Gerwel Drive, in response to all the rapes and murders of women and children.

More than 200 people gathered with placards to express their dismay on Tuesday September 3, with many passing drivers hooting to show their support.

The work of the I Define Me project relates directly to issues of gender-based violence. One of the objectives of the project is to highlight issues of crime and gender-based violence that affect girls and women on the Cape Flats.

The project co-ordinator, Judith Kennedy, said another objective “is to ensure that girls are aware of their human rights and who is responsible for upholding those rights”.

She added: “The last objective of the project is to challenge duty bearers who are responsible for government policy and laws, to actually implement these in pursuance of social justice for these girls.”

In a statement from Action Aid South Africa, it said the I Define Me project condemns the spate of violence against women and children.

“The last couple of weeks has been extremely traumatic for women and girls, especially on the Cape Flats. It has become impossible for women and girls to live a healthy, safe life. Rape, killing, abuse, gang violence is becoming a normal thing in our society, and this we cannot allow,” it reads.

Ms Kennedy questioned the
meaning behind having Women’s Month.

“What does it mean for young girls today if all they see is gender-based violence? A total of 30 women were murdered in Women’s Month (by their partners). A one-year-old baby raped and the 57-year-old perpetrator walks free, a 14-year-old girl raped and killed and dumped in her grandmother’s yard, a young girl running an errand end up raped and killed, a six-year-old girl shot dead while playing outside her house, a 26-year-old pregnant mother is shot eight times while walking to the shop, a 19-year-old (student) raped and murdered. The list goes on and it is seemingly endless.”