‘SA is losing the fight against GBV,’ says Soul City institute

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The battle against gender-based violence (GBV) is being lost as the courtrooms across the country are flooded with cases of murder, rape and abuse.

Soul City Institute for Social Justice chief executive Phinah Kodisang said GBV would not go away any time soon.

“People are desensitised and only start reacting again when there is a case like we saw last week with Hillary Gardee’s murder,” she said.

Kodisang said there was no longer a shortage of rape kits because the GBV fund had started rolling money out to organisations like Soul City that acted as intermediaries for it.

“While resources are still minimal there is action in the right direction in terms of prevention but again more should be done,” she said.

Kodisang said the justice system had failed to deal with the scourge.

“We don’t see enough prosecutions and any justice that is delayed is justice denied,” she said.

Sinoville Crisis Centre social worker Colleen Strauss said they were losing the fight against GBV.

“There are not enough resources at grassroots level. Money is being allocated to policy planning and role players while NGOs and police officers on the ground have no resources to execute what has to be done to combat GBV.”

Strauss said there were not enough proper shelters for women and children.

“There is also no plan of action for women leaving abusive relationships. There are no funds available to equip women to leave abusive relationships.

That’s one of the reasons why they stay with their abusers,” she said.

Strauss said most acts of GBV were committed by people known to the victim.

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“It’s not always a case of stranger danger, but someone you know,” she said.

Founder of the Cradle of Hope, a shelter for abused women and children, Melodie van Brakel said GVB in South Africa was increasing at an alarming rate during the last six months.

“I don’t think there is enough help because we are flooded at the Cradle of Hope with women and children exposed to serious bodily harm by partners and husbands,” she said.

Van Brakel said women come from as far as Mossel Bay, Brits and Cape Town to seek refuge after being abused.

“The Covid pandemic left many people unemployed, angry and frustrated, contributing to the massive increase in abuse,” she explained.

The three men who allegedly killed Gardee, 28 appeared before the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court this week.

According to National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson, Monica Nyuswa, Sipho Lawrence Mkhatshwa, 39, Phillemon Lukhele, 47, and Albert Gama, 52, were facing charges of conspiracy to commit murder, murder, kidnapping, rape, possession of unlicensed firearms, possession of ammunition and defeating the ends of justice.

“Gardee was abducted a week ago and her body was found along Lydenburg Road outside Mbombela.

“All three suspects were arrested between last Friday and Sunday in different areas in the district of Mbombela,” Nyuswa said.

“During the trio’s appearance in court, they all abandoned their bail application and the matter was postponed to 9 June for further investigation.”

Source: citizen