Emma Fulu, Co-founder
September 11, 2019
We must stop violence before it starts
Last week thousands of protestors in South Africa (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/06/south-africa-faces-national-crisis-of-violence-against-women-says-president) called for a state of emergency to tackle the national crisis of violence against women. They, along with women across the world, are saying “enough is enough”.
At least 137 sexual offences are committed per day in South Africa, mainly against women, according to official figures. The women’s minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, said more than 30 women were killed by their spouses last month.
There is no place for violence against women and girls in our world, and we must tackle the causes of this violence right now.
As a gender expert with over 15 years of experience in the field of violence against women I know violence is preventable and that there are steps governments can take to protect women from this fundamental violation of rights.
We know what works
In my time in South Africa as the Technical Lead for the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls Programme, we identified a number of evidence-based recommendations that can help reduce the cycle of violence that 1 in 3 women globally will experience in their lifetime.
Programmes that aim to end gender inequality such as community approaches to change social norms and group education of boys and men that change commonly held values, are affecting the rates of violence experienced by women.
The impact of building women’s productive assets, e.g. through activities such as microfinancing, typically shows promise as a strategy to reduce violence against women. There is stronger evidence that interventions that seek to tackle economic and social factors simultaneously have consistently stronger positive outcomes than interventions that focus on economic factors alone.
Political will is necessary
All governments need to address the political, social, and economic structures that subordinate women and girls. National plans and budget commitments to invest in actions by multiple sectors to prevent and respond to abuse will show the activists in South Africa that this national crisis is being taken seriously. It is not enough for governments to admit there is a problem, they must take real action.
VOICE supports girls and women in calling for their needs and rights to be prioritised by all those involved in providing frontline services and funding.
VOICE works alongside women and girls living and working at the frontline of humanitarian crises, to drive through the support systems, changes and leadership needed to end violence against girls and women.