DAWN (The Democratic Alliance Women’s Network) has invited the Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, to address a provincial rally at 11:00 today in the Pieter Rademeyer Hall in Algoa Park. The Public Protector will reply to DAWN Provincial Chairperson, Celeste Barker’s speech with an address on “Constitutional and Other Mechanisms to Redress the Feminisation of Unemployment, Violence and Poverty in our Province.”
All South African women have the vote and equal citizenship yet are oppressed by material conditions which have deteriorated and created concentric circles of haves and have nots or insiders and outsiders in our province. Insiders have jobs, homes, incomes, skills and assets and outsiders have neither employment, jobs, homes of their own, income or skills. Outsiders’ lives are defined by what they do not have and their daily life is nothing but a struggle to survive. Insiders’ lives are defined by what they have and what they want to have in the future.
In this province poverty has the face of a woman who suffers the quadruple oppression of race, gender, class and unemployment. This hopeless cycle puts our women and girls at risk as they become victims of domestic violence, like our guest Avril Gordon who was rescued from a life-threatening predicament in which she became her husband’s punch bag!
East Cape DAWN is proud to announce that the people of our province opened their hearts and purses to Avril Gordon and that DAWN has been able to support her and contribute to her rehabilitation. We are delighted to host her at our event and it warms our hearts to see how much she has healed.
However, not all victims of domestic violence are as lucky as Avril and, much as we deplore it, South Africa is the rape capital of the world and infant and maternal mortality is increasing as desperate teenagers have babies to secure their own survival on social grants.
On Tuesday, 7 August the Eastern Province Herald reported a violent case in which a grade 7 school girl accused one of her teachers of raping and molesting her at her Schauderville school. The teacher has been suspended and 18 more girls are reported to have had similar experiences! This tragedy is not an isolated incident. Our daily press is rife with reports of rape, domestic violence and gender abuse.
South Africa women still bear the burden of a heritage of profound inequality and 300 plus years of patriarchal rule. Both of which perpetuates gender abuse and maintain women’s position as marginalised, alienated outsiders without jobs, homes, skills or assets.
We call on the Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, to inform us of constitutional and other mechanisms to redress this heritage and the feminisation of unemployment, violence and poverty.
Please empower our ladies with knowledge of how to turn gender violence, rape and domestic violence upside-down. Tell us what tools we can use to change our status from marginalised outsiders to equal insiders.