#100MenMarch: Leaders vow to tackle gender-based violence

Leaders from different sectors of society have vowed to play a significant role to curb the scourge of violence against women and child abuse.

Ministers and Deputy Ministers — supported by representatives from various faith-based organisations and societal formations — took turns on stage to denounce the rampant abuse of women and children, as the #100MenMarch concluded at the Union Buildings this afternoon.

They all made a call for men to respect and protect the vulnerable in society and for women to stand up for their rights.

Police Minister BhekiCele, who was joined by National Police Commissioner General John Sitole and hundreds of cadets from the police academy, urged police not to turn away women who seek assistance at stations.

The [spirit of the march] should be every day. It should not just be today and you go home and do exactly what you are not supposed to do.

Men, we have invited you here today, especially the young men training as police When a woman says ‘no’; it must be ‘no’.

When these women come battered, bruised [and] bloodied at the police station, don’t turn them back home to negotiate because next time she won’t come home. By the time she doesn’t come back to the police station, she’ll be dead. Let’s make sure we don’t send them back because sending her back is sending her to her death.

Cele urged women to leave abuse men, saying: Any man that points a finger at you, turnaround and walk away. Don’t ever stay with a man that puts his fingers in your face [because] next time he’ll put a knife in your heart. That’s not a man. That’s an animal.

Social activist Yusuf Abramjee said the campaign against the abuse of women and children should be throughout the year and not just a once-off event. However, he saluted government for the initiative.

Today we want to tell the perpetrators: the law is coming for you. We are appealing to our law enforcement agencies to arrest, convict and punish them, he said.

Mbuyiselo Botha from the Commission for Gender Equality said government could not tackle the scourge on its own. To triumph over gender-based violence, he said, government and society at large need to focus on the boy child.

It can’t be business as usual. No means no, he said.

Faith-based organisations, various NGOs and various role-players joined in the march today to call for an end to the scourge.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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