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Dialogue Against Gender-Based Violence Sheds Light On Urgent Social Concerns

Photo: Front Row – FLTR: W/O Claassen, Verodene Kammies, Adv Michelle Weyers, Charlotte Kamfer

Back Row FLTR– W/O April, Theresa Wolmarans, Abrolene Maswati, Willie Arnoldus, Brig Crafford, Col Mantyi, Maurice Langdon

Oudtshoorn, 05 December 2023 – The Rosevalley Library of the Greater Oudtshoorn Municipality hosted a Gender-Based Violence Dialogue on Thursday, 30 November 2023, in a significant effort to combat gender-based violence (GBV) and to bring community awareness. The event was organized in collaboration with stakeholders, including the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the South African Police Service (SAPS), the Department of Justice, and the Department of Social Development with Warrant Officer Claassen as the Master of Ceremonies.

SAPS representatives, Brigadier Crafford, Warrant Officer Uys and Col Mantyi highlighted the cycle of crime, violence, and abuse prevalent in our communities. They emphasized the horrific impact of domestic violence on children, stating that those exposed to such environments often mirror the behaviour they witness.

Advocate Michelle Weyers from the Department of Justice shared crucial insights into recent legislative changes concerning GBV. Weyers underscored that GBV is now legally associated with crimes like rape and murder. She urged men and boys to break the silence, emphasizing that gender-based violence affects individuals irrespective of gender.

Theresa Wolmarans, a representative from the Department of Social Development, provided a comprehensive overview of various forms of abuse, ranging from emotional and physical to psychological and financial. “Stalking and bullying are also forms of abuse, and abuse has a ripple effect on everyone connected with the victim and perpetrator, so please speak up and seek help”.

IEC representative, Willie Arnoldus underscored the importance of knowing one’s rights and the responsibility tied to those rights. Responsible citizens must take charge of their future by making good choices by registering to vote enabling them to elect leaders who prioritize policies and initiatives aimed at eradicating gender-based violence.

The purpose of this dialogue is to initiate continued conversations, and actions. We as concerned citizens should ask, what steps can we take, individually and collectively, to ensure that our communities no longer suffer from gender-based violence? This was the key message that was conveyed throughout the dialogue.