A group of gender-based Violence (GBV) survivors have launched a campaign called #MyVoiceForJustice.
As the country celebrates Women’s Month, the question the campaign is asking is: “How can our nation truly celebrate women this August while South African women face violence and a lack of security every day?”
The women share their survivor stories to highlight how they have been let down by the country’s justice system.
Activist Mbali Shongwe said all South Africans need to play a more active role in tackling the challenges associated with GBV, as frivolous commemorations or meaningless statements, just won’t cut it.
She said the issues need to be corrected and the system must be made to work.
“A constant theme of my journey as a rape survivor has been the trauma of reporting.
“I remember going through all these invasive tests and never being told that the DNA evidence in my case wasn’t sufficient,” she said.
Shongwe said without more accountability and humanity from the police and government, failings in the justice system and the DNA backlog would continue to deny her, and other survivors. the justice they seek.
It was this that motivated her to start the #MyVoiceForJustice campaign.
She said everyday women were let down, but holding the government accountable, ending the DNA backlog, and training police officers to be sensitive, could fundamentally change things.
Regional director of DNAforAfrica, Vanessa Lynch said they highlight the importance of DNA in the fight against GBV, as well as the current DNA backlog crisis.
“With an estimated DNA backlog of over 300 000 cases, the South African government has failed to use one of the most powerful tools available to them to provide justice and closure for victims of GBV and other crimes,” she said.
She said the reason for the campaign #MyVoiceForJustice was for the government to hear first-hand how their inaction made survivors of GBV feel.
Lynch said the government had shown how quickly they can create a Covid-19 dashboard and provide citizens with daily information on the pandemic.
She said ending the DNA backlog and creating transparent and accountable reporting, would put more GBV offenders behind bars, and get more survivors the justice and closure they deserve.
“How can we celebrate Women’s Month in South Africa when we cannot even keep our women safe? Let’s get that right first. That would be something to celebrate,” she said.
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