Gender based violence campaign highlights the need to work together

Community and union members at the gender based violence campaign meeting. Photo by Mzi Velapi

A gender based violence campaign community meeting called by the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) in Khayelitsha highlighted the need for the police and the community to fight violence directed at women and children. Themed on the need to work together, the event was part of the 16 Day of Activism against gender violence.

Khayelitsha, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

A gender based violence campaign community meeting called by the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) in Khayelitsha highlighted the need for the police and the community to fight violence directed at women and children. Themed on the need to work together, the event was part of the 16 Day of Activism against gender violence.

Addressing POPCRU members, Brigadier Gloria Jezile emphasised the need for the police to do their job properly when investigating cases of gender violence . “It is not your job to ask rape victims what were they wearing or asking for victims to show you the scars of physical assault. Your job is to open a docket. You are not a mediator,” explained Jezile. She told a crowd of about 100 people who attended the event in Makhaza that another problem is that the police sometimes themselves are the perpertrators.

POPCRU’s 2nd Deputy President, Bonny Marekwa said that violence against women cuts across race and culture. “We need to fight for equality and equal rights for all because as women we face a system of patriarchy,” said Marekwa. She urged the community members to intervene when they see abuse, whether from friends or neighbours.

POPCRU’s 2nd Deputy President Bonny Marekwa. Photo by Mzi Velapi

Marekwa’s views were echoed by Magistrate Alta Le Roux who is also the head of Family Court. She urged the community to report cases. “Domestic violence is on the rise in the Western Cape: between 2016 and 2017, there were 50,105 reported cases,” said Le Roux .

Asked about the lack of resources and the need to equip the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Units at Khayelitsha police stations as was recommended by the Khayelitsha Commission, POPCRU’s provincial secretary, Mncedisi Mbolekwa, said that they want the FCS units to succeed:”It’s a must that they get capacitated, its a non-negotiable and we hope that the new police commissioner will deliver on the matter.”

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