By Aarti Bhana
South Africa dedicates 16 days towards the awareness of gender-based violence against women and children, but gender-based violence is nearly an everyday occurrence in South Africa. That’s why more needs to be done.
The people in Pennyville, Soweto know this. That’s why on October 10 2020, the community came together to discuss how they can do more to end the violence against women and children; something that is prevalent in their community.
For its third Accountabili’tea event, Accountability Lab South Africa partnered with residents in Pennyville, along with community activists, stakeholders, community leaders to discuss the ongoing violence between husbands and wives, especially. As participants noteed, in most cases police would have to intervene and in the more unfortunate cases, the partner would die.
The event, held in a park, was attended by grandparents, parents, sons and daughters: some of whom who had lived experience with gender-based violence. From poetry to speeches, the pain and anguish of those who suffered directly or indirectly were expressed. It was eye-opening for all who attended.
It did not end there.
The people of the Pennyville developed a community manifesto to deal with gender-based violence. They said that dialogue was one of the key pillars in addressing it.
In addition to this, it was resolved that men needed to be educated about their behaviour and how they can get involved in ending GBV – as it is men who cause it.
Community leaders also spoke about seeking help when in an abusive relationship. Women were told to find someone they trust, to speak to and ask for help.
The ideas that emerged from this dialogue also inspired political parties to have their own discussion on the same issue.
Most importantly, the people of Pennyville have shown that they are serious about getting involved in the fight against GBV.
The event succeed in achieving its main goals, which was to ignite a fire against GBV. It also went one step further.
On 12 October, there was a proposal to hold more of these dialogues in other areas in Pennyville.
More campaigns and conversations will be held through December to enhance the awareness around GBV. Important stakeholders like the police and social services are also expected to get involved.
The people of Pennyville are ready to stand together to take on the fight against gender-based violence.
Watch our highlights reel from the event here: