The 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women were first introduced into South Africa by women’s organisations in 1993, with government taking up the Campaign in 1997. In 2015 our big question is what has changed?
We answered this question from a range of vantage points both to illustrate the multi-faceted nature of responses needed to comprehensively address the problem of violence against women, as well as to show that there is no one solution that will magically address the problem overnight. In 16 days we could also not exhaust all dimensions of violence against women and so the Campaign will continue to find ways to highlight, analyse and debate the issues in the new year.
We conclude, for the moment, by presenting an overall summary of the 16 Days of Discontent. While some good work is being done, most implementation of programmes, laws and policies is below average and marked by delays and insufficient budgets. As a result, the potential effectiveness of interventions is undermined and survivors’ access to support and justice denied. Violence may also be enabled when protection orders are not enforced and few rapes result in conviction. Insufficient attention is also being paid to those who experience multiple forms of discrimination such as women and children with disabilities, lesbian and gender non-conforming women, as well as refugees and women whose intimate relationships are not legally recognised.
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