For most, staying home under the nation’s restrictions in light of the Coronavirus pandemic means staying safe. For others it’s proved anything but. It was revealed that over 2,230 gender-based violence cases were reported during the first week of the national lockdown.
Sonke Gender Justice also believes that the number of unreported cases pushes that number up significantly. The escalation of domestic violence around the world amidst lockdown restrictions is in itself another pandemic. Womxn, children and other vulnerable groups find themselves trapped between two pandemics. Sonke is calling for collective community support, for those staying home to keep safe, and to also keep watch on their neighbours’ safety.
Lockdown has meant that access to normal support channels – like visiting family and community check ins – have been shut off. In addition to that, being under the constant watch of an abusive member of the household, making a phone call to get help isn’t always possible either.
“Unwatched and unchecked – women, children and other vulnerable groups are finding themselves at the mercy of their abusers,” says Sonke’s Communications and Strategic Information Unit Manager Given Sigauqwe. “This is not the time to be quiet. We must be loud enough to make a difference to those who are impacted by domestic violence,” continues Sigauqwe.
There is no doubt that as a nation we are stronger together, so now we have another national call of solidarity. To greatly reduce the frequency and severity of domestic violence attacks in this period we need to call on our neighbours to help protect each other.
As neighbors we need to stop outsourcing our role in the fight against GBV. This is why Sonke is launching its #SPEAKOUT campaign. Watch the campaign video here.
Sonke is calling on every womxn and man next door – to #SPEAKOUT on social media and pledge their commitment to watch out for gender-based in their neighbourhood. Domestic violence can be reported to toll-free Gender Based Violence Call Centre on 0800 428 428 or *120*7867#.
If you can get in touch with someone who is being abused in any way – over the fence/by phone – please check if they feel that your intervention as a neighbour will help or will make the situation worse. The needs and safety of those who are being abused are always paramount!
Everyone is someone’s neighbour, and if every neighbour speaks out for the survival of its community, our chances will be greatly improved at limiting the violence, especially to children who are the most vulnerable.
#SPEAKOUT so that every survivor of abuse – and every perpetrator – knows there’s someone right next door that cares and who will never be silenced.
WE ARE STRONGER, TOGETHER.
For media enquiries, please contact:
- Given Sigauqwe, Communications and Strategic Informations Unit Manager, 073 988 2870 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Nonhlanhla Skosana, Community Mobilization & Education Unit Manager, 078 971 5477 or email@example.com.
- Bafana Khumalo, Co-Executive director and Senior Strategic Advisor, 082 578 4479 or firstname.lastname@example.org.