GEMSA 16 Days of Activism Newsletter Issue 11

GEMSA 16 Days of Activism Newsletter Issue 11


Date: December 9, 2004
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There are a number of obstacles in the way of women trying to leave abusive relationships. Many social systems dictate that women should remain in their marriages and relationships, however abusive, as it is their responsibility to maintain their families. Adding to this pressure is that of wondering where to go ? especially if family and other support structures are not available.

E-Newsletter of the Gender and Media Southern Africa Network

Produced daily during the Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, 2004

Issue 11, 9th December 2004

IN THIS ISSUE:

? Overview

? Today?s I story

? Country activities

Contact your Sixteen Day Campaign country representatives:

Botswana: Keabonye Ntsabanye: Womens_ngo_coa@info.bw

Kenya: Rosemary Okello: awcin@kenyaonline.co.za

Lesotho: Fanyane Mathabang :

mathabangfanyane@yahoo.co.uk

Mauritius: Loga Virahsawmy: gonaz@intnet.mu

Seychelles: Sharon Thelemaque: keraque@hotmail.com

South Africa: Mothibi Mohomane: mothibi@genderlinks.org.za

Swaziland: Ncane Maziya: smegwa2003@yahoo.com

Zambia: Chileshe Kalasa: Kchileshe2000@yahoo.co.uk

Zimbabwe: Loveness Jambaya: loveness@mmpz.org.zw

Contact your GEMSA country representatives:

Angola: Anacleta Pereira

nani@netangola.com

Botswana: Pamela Dube

dube@mmegi.bw

Lesotho: Mathabang Fanyane

mathabangfanyane@yahoo.co.uk

Malawi: Stella Mhura

skaliwo@yahoo.co.uk

Mauritius: Loga Virahsawmy

gonaz@intnet.mu

Mozambique: Jose Marciano Mubai

Vermoc@tvm.co.mz

Namibia: Sarry Xoagus- Eises

sxoagus@hotmail.com

Seychelles: Jean Claude Mantombe

nccadmin@seychelles.net

South Africa: Kubi Rama

kubi@genderlinks.org.za

Swaziland: Phumelele Dlamini

phumied@yahoo.com

Tanzania: Rose Haji

misatan@africaonline.co.tz

Zambia: Emmanuel Kasongo

ekasongo@coppernet.zm

Zimbabwe: Loveness Jambaya

loveness@mmpz.org.zw

Contact the GEMSA Executive Committee:

Chair: Colleen Lowe Morna (South Africa)

clmorna@mweb.co.za

Deputy Chair: Emmanuel Kasongo (Zambia)

ekasongo@coppernet.zm

Secretary: Tom Mapasela (Lesotho)

tmapasela@yahoo.co.uk

Overview

There are a number of obstacles in the way of women trying to leave abusive relationships. Many social systems dictate that women should remain in their marriages and relationships, however abusive, as it is their responsibility to maintain their families. Adding to this pressure is that of wondering where to go ? especially if family and other support structures are not available.

Places of safety play a critical role in addressing gender violence as they provide reprieve ? albeit temporarily ? to the violence that women experience in their homes. Yet despite this, many existing shelters ? far below the number required ? suffer from a lack of financial and human resources. This is the same for many countries in the region. While resources are channelled towards addressing issues within the criminal justice system for example, very little is allocated specifically for the establishment and maintenance of shelters.

The lack of sufficient resources, in this case for the establishment of places of safety, point to a deeper issue. While governments in the region are making attempts to address violence against women, this is very often not accompanied by the financial resources required. It is essential that specific budgetary allocations be made by governments to address gender violence.

Today?s I story

I don?t look back

By Saafiyah*

I have not regretted the day I walked out of my marital home. I knew it was the right thing to do and I have never looked back. Today, I?m a happier woman for it.

Read the full story at:

https://www.genderlinks.org.za/gemcomm/gemcomm.asp?cid=109

Mauritius

Media Watch Organisation facilitated a workshop with 12 survivors of violence at Centre Chrysalide – the women were rehabilitated sex workers and drug users. The youngest was a 17-year-old who had passed her GCE ‘O’ levels but had to leave school because of the stigma of her addiction. Another young woman who has a young son has been on drugs for the past 24 years. Yet another was forced by her mother to become a sex worker to make money for the family.

A young woman shared her experience of being cajoled into drug abuse by her husband’s friend and the deterioration of her life. She was rejected by her family and often abused by them.

A number of resolutions were taken after the survivors shared their stories including more interaction between Media Watch, lawyers, police and representatives from Ministry of Women.

Go to Media Watch Organisation?s website at: http://mediawatch.clickpost.com

(By Loga Virahsawmy)

South Africa

The particular experiences of women living in rural areas was highlighted during today?s cyber dialogue under the theme ?Places of safety and care.? The lack of shelters in rural areas, participants argued made it more difficult for rural women to leave abusive relationships. Another prominent theme in the discussions was that of places of safety for men ? places which would assist men who are experiencing abuse, and others which would provide the space for men who want to change their abusive ways.

Participants bemoaned the few shelters available and also questioned the limited capacity that existing shelters have given the great need in many communities. Concern was also raised over the lack of secondary housing for women and families once they leave the shelters.

Find out more about the discussion by going to: www.cyberdialogues.co.za and following the link from ?Places of safety and care.?

Zambia

The Young Christian Women?s Association (YWCA) organised an open day in Lusaka as part of the 16 Days of Activism. The purpose of the event was for people learn about role of YWCA in society and its work with abused women. Women displayed their crafts, agricultural products and products items for sale and also shared their experiences.

YWCA executive director Stella Nkhoma observed that Zambia‘s harsh economic conditions contributed to the abuse of women. She said that most women could not leave their marriages even when their husbands abused them as they lacked economic empower.

Nkhoma noted that girls as young as 13-15 years old are being married off as a result of financial difficulties experienced by their families.

She said that the majority of women who go to the YWCA for help are from lower income earning brackets and that women from higher economic classes rarely use their services due to the culture of shame associated with abuse.

(By Brighton Phiri)

Write to us: admin@genderlinks.org.za

Send us information on what activities are taking place in your country.


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