Gender-Based Violence Plan to Sustain Survivors

Gender-Based Violence Plan to Sustain Survivors Funded by Solidarity Fund.

 

June 2021 Gender-Based Violence survivors Support.

Siyakholwa Supported by Solidarity Fund to break the cycle of Gender-Based Violence.

When our President called gender-based violence (GBV) the ‘second pandemic’ in South Africa, the simmering issue was finally acknowledged as a national crisis. However, for Siyakholwa & Team, GBV has always been the ‘first pandemic’. We have not just spoken out about it during Women’s Month or the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. But, we have done so at every opportunity we had since 2010 in marginalised communities.

South Africa has one of the highest levels of intimate partner violence globally, with as many as 51% of South African women experiencing such violence, according to the 2021 Human Rights Watch Report. And while it is gratifying that the issue is finally being taken seriously at a policy level – with Siyakholwa playing a role in shifting the national discourse and trying to change behaviour – much more needs to be done.

Siyakholwa’s commitment to women.

Siyakholwa has long been committed to empowering women since 2010; Siyakholwa rolled out a few programmes to support Gender-Based Violence victims, including a domestic violence policy to support them. Within marginalised communities, we are committed to fighting GBV as part of the Gender Empowerment Programme that started back in 2010. The Gender Empowerment Programme operates within both local and other African continents, including UN Sustainable Development Goal 5, which focuses on gender equality.

Support to women who experience Gender-Based Violence.

Providing support to women who experience GBV was a primary concern when we partnered with the churches to use their venues as skills training centres in 2013 to set up the Gender-Based Violence Mobile Command Centre (GBVCMC) for women experiencing violence and abuse. Siyakholwa provided the Agritech business startup resources for the GBVCC. The GBVCMC is part of a multi-pronged strategy to eradicate violence against women and focuses on prevention, response, and support for survivors.

Gender-Based Violence Mobile Command Centre.

Our GBVCMC sites within the DSD portfolio function as a helpline for everyone from matric students anxious about their results to at-risk women seeking information about GBV. It is an important tool that supports vulnerable women and collects valuable information about GBV across the country – for example. Social workers know which provinces receive the most calls and which types of abuse are most frequently reported. In this way, it is possible to assess trends, helping other civil societies to tailor their interventions accordingly.

Siyakholwa has helped to train more than 1 400 GBV survivors with basic AGriculture skills. In this way, survivors have gained skills they can use to become financially independent and are thus less likely to return home to an abusive spouse or partner.

Gender-Based Violence exacerbated by pandemic lockdowns.

During the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown, there was a significant increase in calls from women and children confined in their homes seeking urgent help. Of the 18,909 calls, SMSs and WhatsApp received in 2021,729 were GBV-related; the GBVCMC has played a key role in GBV prevention and response, offering to counsel survivors and perpetrators of GBV.

WhatsApp helpline is open 24 hours a day.

The WhatsApp helpline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, with counselling available in all 11 official languages using zoom sessions. Call 011 906 0042 to boom free counselling or send a dedicated SMS or WhatsApp to 068 168 5486. Or go to www.siyakholwasupportcarecentre.org.za for more information.

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