Gender Justice Barometer Issue 15

Gender Justice Barometer Issue 15

Date: January 1, 1970
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Southern Africa
Gender Justice Barometer

Issue 15: June 2007


The Gender Justice Barometer is a joint project of Gender Links and the Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA) Network

In this issue:
1. South Africa: MPs pass Sexual Offences Bill
2. South Africa: SALGA North West holds district workshops to localise the National Action Plan
3.Namibia: Most rape victims  know the rapist
* Mozambique: Govt Considers Legalising Abortion to Stem Maternal Deaths
*Zambia: Wife refuses to reconciling with abusive husband, weeps
*Botswana: Old Naledi Woman Fights for Property
*Swaziland: Swaziland to develop a 365 Day National Action Plan to End Gender Violence
*Namibia: Gender Based Violence conference on this month
*South Africa: HIV
 prevention services miss rape survivors
*Regional: SADC Gender and Development Protocol
*Regional: 8WAMM to Increase Funding On Gender Equality
Swaziland: Report Links Discrimination to HIV
*International:  African
 woman appointed HIV/AIDS Special Envoy for Africa 
*Zambia: Women protest army discharge 
*Zimbabwe:  Healthy
 sexuality during menopause will help prevent HIV 

We encourage your feedback, comments and information you would like us to include. Send an email to:
Loveness Jambaya-Nyakujarah














1. South Africa: MPs pass Sexual Offences Bill 
In the last issue we were still asking the question, “Where is the Sexual Offences Bill?” a question that has been asked for the last 10 years or so.  However the wait is almost over as MPs passed the Sexual Offences Bill end of May. This means that if
assented by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and the President of South Africa, the bill will finally become a reality – a much-needed step toward greater protection against sexual offences.
There are still a number of areas of concern about what the bill contains, and what it does not. For example, the bill does not provide for what kind of care and treatment survivors of gender violence can expect to receive, and how to go about the complex implementation process needed to make a difference on the ground.
There are undoubtedly many progressive provisions contained in the bill. Firstly, it broadens the definition of rape, including providing that men and boys can be raped, and women can be convicted of rape.  If made into law, the Bill means that penetration of the genital organs, or anus, of one person, male or female, with the penis, other body part (including animals’), or any object will constitute rape. Penetration of a person’s mouth with a penis, human or animal, will also constitute rape.

2. South Africa: SALGA North West holds district workshops to localise the National Action Plan
SALGA North West in partnership with Gender Links (GL) held consultative workshops with stakeholders from the four districts: Bojalana, Bophirima, Central and Southern to draft district 365 Day Action Plans to End Gender Violence.  These were held on the 18th and 28th of May.
Draft district plans were developed and these will be integrated to constitute a provincial plan. Following further consultations within the province a draft provincial action plan to end gender violence will be produced and adopted at a 365 Day Conference to be held in August this year. Several priority actions and programmes have been identified to enhance service delivery to prevent gender violence as well as respond and support effectively and efficiently to survivors of gender violence.
Members of the SALGA North West special projects forum are spearheading the process within municipalities. Provincial government departments such as Safety and Security and Social Development, Commission of Gender Equality (CGE), community based organisations, NGOs, faith based organisations among others have also played a key role in the process.

3. Namibia: Most Rape Victims Know the Rapist
Two thirds of rape and attempted rape victims in Namibia know their perpetrators, a report released ahead of this month’s national conference on violence against women and children said.
The report, ‘Rape in Namibia’, investigated how the promulgation of the Combating of Rape Act seven years ago was working in practice and noted that between 2000 and 2005 99 percent of reported rape victims were women.
"Only twelve percent of the cases clearly involved rapes by strangers," Dianne Hubbard, the report’s author and the coordinator of the Gender Research and Advocacy Project of the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC, said at the launch of the study in the capital, Windhoek. "The vast majority of rapes in our study – at least 67 percent – involved persons known to the victim. Most shockingly, about 25 percent of the rapes in the sample involved family members, spouses or intimate partners, including past partners." Read more.
Source: IRIN

Mozambique: Govt Considers Legalising Abortion to Stem Maternal Deaths
Citing a high rate of maternal deaths due to illegal, unsafe abortions, Mozambique policymakers are considering legalising the procedure. The country may eventually become one of only a handful in Africa where abortion is available on demand.
The push for the new legislation, officially introduced earlier this year, has come from the Mozambican health ministry, arguing that unsafe abortion is the third leading cause of death among pregnant women in the country. Mozambique has one of the highest maternal death rates in the world. Read more

While the justice system is meant to work for us, it is difficult to fathom, how the court of justice can allow the situation detailed below to prevail. This is but one of many instances where women are let down by the legislation and the legal system in general…

Zambia: Wife refuses to reconciling with abusive husband, weeps
By Violet Mengo

A WOMAN of Mukomela village in Mfuwe cried and threw herself on the ground when the court justice, Dennis Ngoma reconciled her with her husband whom she accused of being cruel. Elizabeth Malama, 39, sued her husband Crispin Banda, 47 for divorce alleging that he was cruel and beat her up daily. Malama cried uncontrollably, saying her husband battered her almost every day, and on one occasion she lost her tooth and on another she sustained a broken leg. In her statement, Malama told the court that she married Banda in 2000 and moved from Mnkhanya village to Kakumbi village. They have two children.
She said a year after they got married, Banda started accusing her of having affairs with other men and subjecting her to a thorough private part check-up each time she came back from the farm or visiting friends and relatives. Read full article
Source: The Sunday Mail

Botswana: Old Naledi Woman Fights for Property
By Thato Chwaane

A case in which an elderly woman is fighting tooth and nail for her property in Old Naledi resumed. Olebile William, who has appealed to the Old Naledi Customary Court for recourse, said she stayed with her old man at the plot for many years before he died and was surprised that his nephew, Shadrack Kasoka, was now claiming it. Read full article
Source: Mmegi online


Swaziland: Swaziland to develop a 365 Day National Action Plan to End Gender Violence

GL, in partnership with Swaziland Gender and Media Southern Africa Network (GEMSA) chapter and Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA) will hold a strategic communication training workshop for gender activists and officials from the 27 to 29th of June 2007. Similar to workshops held in four other countries, the aim will be to deepen the 16 Days of Activism campaign to a year long campaign by developing a set of concrete actions and measurable indicators to end gender violence in Swaziland.
This workshop will build on a National Gender Based Violence campaign launched in April this year which is running from March – December 2007.  However the campaign mainly focuses on awareness raising a component of prevention and the workshop seeks to look beyond that and include all aspects of prevention, response and support for gender based violence and draft a year long National Action Plan.  The workshop will explore ways of coordinating the action plan as well as ensure accountability by all stakeholders.

Namibia: Gender Based Violence conference on this month

The Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare will host a National Conference on Gender Based Violence from 19 – 22 June 2007 in Windhoek. The theme of the workshop is ‘Unifying Action to Eliminate GBV in our society.’
The four-day conference objectives are:
  • To exchange views on causes and effects of Gender Based Violence in Namibian society.
  • To identify gaps and challenges in the implementation of Gender Based Violence legislation.
  • To enhance and develop strategies on how to combat and prevent Gender Based Violence.
  • To develop action-based recommendations and follow-up mechanisms.
  • To strengthen networking and collaboration among all stakeholders.
The multi-sector conference will draw participants from Ministries of Safety and Security, Health and Social Services, Education, Justice and other relevant ministries; Office of the Prime Minister, National Planning Commission, National Council and National Assembly; Regional and Local Council GBV Networks; Traditional Authorities; NGOs, CBOs and FBOs in the GBV sector, Donors, Rsearch institutions; Media, Tertiary institutions; Social and medical workers as well as Trade unions.

South Africa: HIV prevention services miss rape survivors
According to the study, almost a third of government health practitioners at 31 national rape centres said they did not consider rape to be a serious medical condition.
Health staff at the centres also refused to provide medical treatment in the form of antiretroviral drugs, taken as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent HIV infection, if the rape had not been reported at a police station.
Many services to rape victims were also still located in the casualty section of hospitals. "These hospital wards are very noisy, busy, bloody and frightening … precisely the departments most unsuited to dealing with rape patients." Vetten noted that this was hardly an ideal environment for someone in a state of shock. Read more
Source: Women’sNet

Regional: SADC Gender and Development Protocol
SADC Ministers responsible for Gender and Women’s Affairs are scheduled to meet in the month of June ahead of the annual SADC Heads of State meeting. It is hoped that on their agenda will be deliberations on progress leading to the adoption of the SADC Gender and Development Protocol.
About the campaign
The SADC Gender and Development Protocol is a groundbreaking initiative by member states of the regional organisation to elevate the Declaration on Gender and Development to the most binding of its instruments. The Campaign follows an audit of the Declaration in 2005 and is gathering momentum ahead of the Heads of State Summit in Lusaka in August this year. 
A draft protocol is in place and has received comments from various constituencies.  To view the latest version of the Draft Protocol on Gender and Development, download the poster and brochure click here.

Regional: 8WAMM to Increase Funding On Gender Equality
The upcoming 8th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting (8WAMM) is set to focus on funding and support to Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) working on gender equality.
"The 8WAMM will be held in Kampala, Uganda from 11 to 14 June and it is expected to bring together about 300 representatives from 51 Commonwealth member countries, partner agencies and the private sector," the Commonwealth said in a statement last week. Read full article.

Swaziland: Report Links Discrimination to HIV
By Helen Kilbey
Gender-based discrimination in Botswana and Swaziland is integrally linked to the high rates of HIV infection among women in those countries, a study by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has found.
The report, titled ‘Epidemic of Inequality: Women’s Rights and HIV/Aids in Swaziland and Botswana‘, cites four main reasons for this: women’s lack of control over sexual decision-making (including the decision to use a condom); HIV-related stigma; a widespread belief that women are inferior; and the failure of governments to promote the equality, autonomy, and economic independence of women. Read full article

International: African woman appointed HIV/AIDS Special Envoy for Africa 
By Hone Liwanga
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s appointment of activist Elizabeth Mataka as the HIV/AIDS Special Envoy for Africa is an important step for gender equality in Africa, and for addressing the impact of HIV/AIDS on women. On the same day, 21 May, the General Assembly reviewed progress towards universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, and discussed the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. Read full article

Zambia: Women protest army discharge 
By Perpertual Sichikwenkwe
Some young women in the Zambia Army are complaining that the current law, which allows the Zambia Army to discharge them of their duties if they become pregnant or get married before they clock two years in employment, is a violation of their rights. Read full article.

Zimbabwe: Healthy sexuality during menopause will help prevent HIV 
By Fungai Machirori
In Zimbabwe, and many countries in the region, some cultural practices are reinforcing gender inequalities and contributing to the spread of HIV/AIDS. One such cultural norm is post-menopausal abstinence by women, when men often have sex outside of marriage. Lest this once again point to women as somehow responsible for men’s behaviour, and thus the spread of HIV, it is important to shed light on this rarely discussed topic. Read full article


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