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MU in Grahamstown came together in solidarity against GBV
During the 16 Days of Activism hundreds of members of the Mothers’ Union in Grahamstown came together in solidarity to bring attention and awareness the fact that gender based violence will not be tolerated.
Survivors are shown that they are not alone in the battle, that the MU members are speaking up and fighting their corner with a petition targeting the safety and liaison Minister. The aim was to establish a partnership with the South African Police and to fight the crime together.
Church Leaders were targeted for involvement in the petition as governments play an important role in preventing and ending gender-based violence, and as a civil society in many parts of the world, they are able to influence their leaders to do so.
The 16 days of activism provides the township with a great opportunity for the individuals and group of Mothers’ Union members to take the initiative and make their stand.
The advocacy was carried out through Facebook, media and a solidarity march. The social media platform was used to raise awareness and build strength for the planned march and 16 days of activism. Media was also used to draw attention to the issues, the office of the President was interviewed line in one of the local radio stations where a call was made to all to come and support the peaceful and prayerful march. The 16 days of activism was supported by the Bishop, Dean and the Diocesan Clergy by leading the march in which the president delivered a petition to the Safety and Liaison Minister who sent a senior official to SAPS to come and receive the petition.
The issues being brought to light are;
- Abuse and violence perpetrated against women in the form of domestic or relational abuse, including rape.
- Slaughtering of elderly women and women in general.
- Human trafficking and exploitation
- Ritual murders and slaughtering of women and girls for purposes trading in human parts.
- Abuse of corporal punishment and the escalating incidents of violence at schools.
In the circumstances, the church have taken it upon themselves to raise a voice of moral conscience as well as stand up in advocacy for a society which finds itself under siege by criminal acts responsible for the people living in perpetual fear.
The help of the government is called upon by the province to address the reality and take decisive steps against criminality in all its forms and manifestations.
The impact of the petition attracted an astounding 600 people to attend the march that took place on a working day, holding placards saying ‘No to Violence Against Women and Children’ and led by the Bishop and the Clergy. Members from the police and social development educated members and attendees on what to do when being or has been victimised. Agreements of a partnership with SAPS were forged and at the end of the launch, the Bishop conducted a healing service that prompted all the participants to go forward and receive an anointing from the Bishop.