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Abusers to be shamed by women

By Nawhal Kara | Nov 27, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

WOMEN in Rockville, Soweto, have taken a stand against gender based violence - they will embarrass the perpetrators.

WOMEN in Rockville, Soweto, have taken a stand against gender based violence - they will embarrass the perpetrators.

Speaking at a discussion to determine what communities were doing to combat violence against women, Jabulile Mokale, a social worker from the NISAA Institute for Women's Development, told of how women were drawing attention to abuse in their homes. Every time one of them is attacked, three SMSes are sent to community members to alert them. In turn, women converge on the house and start banging pots outside the perpetrator's home to expose them.

The discussion, which was part of the activities to support the 16 Days of Activism campaign, was attended by representatives from women's shelters, NGOs and survivors of violence.

Mokale said the women had agreed that if one of them was abused by their partner, the victim would send three "please call me" SMSes to fellow residents as a signal.

"Community members will immediately take their pots and lids and march to the house of the victim," Mokale said.

"Without saying a word they will bang their pots to arouse the interest of all the neighbours.

"When the perpetrator comes out to investigate, the women will not confront him but continue beating and banging the pots and lids."

She said one woman's life was saved after her husband was exposed.

"After being exposed as a wife-beater the man filed for divorce and moved out," Mokale said.

She said the strategy worked because most of the perpetrators did not want to be identified as women-beaters.

"By uniting and taking a stance, these women have made a difference in their own lives," she said.

Gugu Mofokeng, a survivor of abuse and board member of the Recovery Village which provides shelter for abused women, said churches, schools and hospitals also had a role to play by supporting victims.

"Unfortunately in many instances when women turn to their churches they are told to fast and pray because divorce is not encouraged," she said.

"We urge women in churches to break the silence and talk about their abuse in churches."


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