Updated: Dec 13, 2021
The Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) together with Each One Hold One (EOHO) is launching the Women’s Coat of Armour. An intervention aimed to curb and drastically reduce the existence of Gender-Based Violence (GBV). Violence in any form is a social evil that does nothing to further the lives of victims and perpetrators alike. It has been allowed to deeply root itself in societies globally.
There are several awareness initiatives in South Africa like the 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children observed annually. Organisations have been put in place to assist victims. However, a concern remains that GBV remains endemic to South Africa and has been difficult to resolve.
Women, children and members of the LGBTQI remain vulnerable to serious and violent crimes, often coupled with severe psychological abuse. This campaign will provide a platform for victims and concerned citizens to find information and assistance, to deal with life-threatening situations or any other form of GBV.
Being an obvious human rights violation, GBV has a major social and developmental impact on victims and their loved ones. It has been reported that over a third of women who have been raped develop Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), which if left untreated over a long period of time, often results in depression, substance abuse and even suicide.
GBV largely includes offences of rape, intimate partner violence, domestic violence and other sexual offences. In South Africa, many victims are left dead, and the truth behind their trauma is seldom fully revealed. There remains a global concern that these crimes are under-reported. Victims remain reluctant to report their ordeals where acts of a sexual nature are involved, as these crimes are dehumanising and humiliating. They are ashamed to speak out, fearful of being victimized by individuals and employers, and being ostracized by society.
The social and economic effects of GBV is catastrophic, placing a heavy financial burden on already stressed government departments. These crimes against our vulnerable members of society are perpetrated in broad daylight, and well into the dark hours of the night. This places undue pressure on victims to avoid the streets and to avoid seeking employment they so desperately need. This results in a vicious cycle of victims remaining dependant on their abusers.
Other consequences of GBV includes anxiety, physical injuries, unwanted pregnancies, gynaecological complications, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV Infections. Imprisonment of offenders places a phenomenal burden on the fiscus. Should they avoid apprehension and prosecution, they are at liberty to commit more crimes with greater impunity. Dealing with GBV becomes a very sensitive issue both in respect of victims and the justice system. A careful and balanced approach must be found to emancipate victims, and at the same time to deal with offenders. This collaboration between AA and EOHO is focused on driving the movement for the safety and support of women and their families. The aim is to alert all role-players of the available resources, programmes and the need for each of us to take a collective stand against violence.
Victims, often overwhelmed by the predicament they find themselves in, are oblivious to the avenues available to get them out of traumatic situations. These victims are in obvious need of help, and the AA assisted by EOHO, now makes provision for victims to educate themselves, seek help and receive the assistance they require.
Necessary information and resources will be contained here https://www.eoho.info/campaigns , to assist victims at any stage of their ordeal. The mission is to drive a culture of accountability amongst all role players, with a serious focus on empowerment and transforming victims into survivors.
So let us commit today and be a part of the change we need and seek.
Adv Nerisha Naidoo – Legal Counsel, EOHO Champion, An Activist for Women’s Rights & Life Coach
Melissa, Emily & Charmaine