The GBV Battle in Rural Areas

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GBV Demonstration (Credit: Radio 786)

Economic justice for women will be highlighted this 16 Days of Activism Against Violence on Women and Children, as South Africa works to fight its other pandemic, Gender-Based Violence.

For women living and working in rural communities, economic freedom is a distant dream. As explained by the founder of the Ubuntu Rural Women and Youth Movement, Wendy Pekeur, women face sexual harassment while working on farms.

This was corroborated by Police Minister Bheki Cele as he joined the launch of the 16 Days Campaign. He says that  rural women are subject to sexual assault due to the isolation that farms offer.

Pekeur says that many farms in the Western Cape do not have safe and enclosed toilets for their staff – leaving them exposed and vulnerable.

She has echoed the call for economic empowerment for women, as this makes it easier for them to leave their abusers. Pekeur says that housing leases for farm workers are predominantly given to men, and abused women often feel compelled to stay in an abusive relationship, to ensure that they have a roof over their heads.

The 16 Days of Activism Against Violence on Women and Children will see civil organisations along with the government host a series of dialogues and campaigns to deal with this lingering issue in South Africa.

Minister Cele says that all citizens must take the responsibility of protecting each other. He has called on the public to recognise the importance of this culture of ubuntu, and its immediate impact on the well-being of the vulnerable.

[Header image: Radio 786 / FILE]


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