Byline: Refeloe Letsoisa

20 November 2023

Approaching 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, the Department of Social Development hosted an awareness campaign on GBV and women empowerment on Thursday, 16 November 2023 at Ext. 18 in eMbalenhle.

The purpose of the event was to restore dignity, especially for women, as the department realized that most women lack self-esteem and end up in abusive relationships.

“We believe that if we help them restore their dignity and see themselves as worthy, they will be able to leave those abusive relationships and be independent,” said Precious Soko from the Department of Social Development.

Precious further explained that most women in abusive situations actually want to leave but have a fear of being lonely.

Different stakeholders were invited to express their support for the initiative, namely the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ), the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), and the South African Police Services (SAPS).

The stakeholders further shared stories they come across on a daily basis and also shared how one’s life can be saved from an abusive relationship or marriage, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or sexually.

Counselor Anita Loti from Ward 14 honored the invitation and also shared her story from a young age and an abusive marriage, which left community members wondering how she made it possible to walk around with a smile on her face every day.

“I thank God for keeping me alive to this day.

I urge women to report any kind of abuse at the nearest police station as soon as they come across it, or even if they see their neighbor being abused, please report the matter urgently.

We do not want the same incident of a minor child who was brutally killed by her stepmother happening again in our area and community members only confessing when it is already late,” said Cllr Loti.

Lastly, Cllr. Loti urged women to help each other and stand together.

In closing, attendees of the event had a chance to network, advise each other where needed, and shared or received all the information they needed for any kind of help.