Fact Sheets for the Cyberdialogues 2004

Fact Sheets for the Cyberdialogues 2004

Date: August 6, 2009
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Fact Sheet 1 – Making IT work for gender justice
The cyber dialogues are one of several initiatives to raise awareness and change behaviour as part of the Sixteen Days of Activism on Gender Violence using new information and communication technologies. The Sixteen Days is the period from 25 November, International Day of No Violence Against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day. This period is increasingly recognised in Southern Africa as an opportunity to conduct sustained campaigns against gender violence.

Fact Sheet 2 – Taking stock – Balancing the scales
A look at how far we have come.

Fact Sheet 3 – Empowerment of women and children
A critical element in breaking the cycle of gender violence is the empowerment of women through jobs, ownership of land, financial and food security. As a social grouping, black constitute the poorest of the poor. While women from all socio-economic backgrounds are affected by gender violence, women in impoverished conditions are at greater risk of as their economic, social and material conditions serve to make them more vulnerable their options if they want to leave an abusive relationship or community.

Fact Sheet 4 – Speaking out
Gender violence comprises any act of abuse, intended or unintended, of verbal, emotional, psychological, sexual, or physical form which results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or deprivation of liberty.

Fact Sheet 5 – Maintenance and child support
The economic abuse of women and their children is a contributing factor to high levels of violence in South Africa. The failure by fathers to pay maintenance for their children adds to the burden of single mothers and reinforces the notion that children are the sole responsibility of their mothers. While the promulgation of the Maintenance Act of 1998 was welcomed, there are a number of problems with its implementation which work against its intentions.

Fact Sheet 6 – The justice for women campaign
In South Africa, there is a high incidence of femicide, the killing of a woman by an intimate partner. There are also instances in which women kill their abusive partners, mostly in selfdefence. Only a very small proportion of women kill their intimate partners when no immediate threat seems apparent. Either they have been threatened with serious injury or death in the future and have no wish to sit back and wait for death by instalment, or they have reached a psychological breaking point where they can no longer see a way out of the relationship. This particular group experiences great difficulty in accessing current defences to murder, partly because the law does not adequately take into account differences in physical strength between men and women.

Fact Sheet 7 – Audit of legislation and resources
The South African Constitution has among the most progressive provisions in the world for equality. Since the advent of democracy in 1994, a plethora of laws have been passed to empower women and to address gender violence. South Africa is also a signatory to a plethora of regional and international commitments on gender justice, such as the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Fact Sheet 8 – Gender violence and hiv/aids
There are four main reasons why violence against women and HIV/AIDS overlap, increasing vulnerability:
– Coercive sex can cause injuries and bleeding that can lead directly to a higher risk of HIV infection for women. Typically this type of sex, including rape, takes place without the use of condoms, and women are unable to negotiate condom usage in these encounters.
– Abusive relationships represent an on-going threat to women À“ again it is difficult for women to negotiate condom usage and safer sex practices within violent relationships.
– Research indicates that women who have been abused as children are more likely to engage in high-risk sex practices e.g. multiple partners.
– Women who know their HIV status or who are perceived to be living with HIV may be at risk of violence from partners and their community.

Fact Sheet 9 – Young women, violence and hiv/aids
In Southern Africa, young women aged 15 to 24 are two and a half times more likely to be infected by HIV than males in the same age group. In South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, more than 75 percent of the youth who are HIV positive are female. Transactional and inter-generational sex have become increasingly prevalent in many countries across Africa, including South Africa. This factor, coupled with high levels of violence against women and girls, places already vulnerable young women at greater risk of HIV infection.

Fact Sheet 10 – International day for the disabled
Women with disabilities are at risk of rape and domestic violence. In some cases the violence they experience directly exploits the nature of women’s particular impairments. Abusers may purposefully lock wheelchairs away; or smash hearing aids or glasses, while family members and intimate male partners may assault or otherwise abuse women for their disability grants. Sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence may be sparked by perverse curiosity about the sexuality of ‘disabled’ women (which is seen as different and strange). Women impairments limit their mobility may also be seen as easy targets for rape. Violence also leads to disability. Spinal injuries incurred through stabbings may result in quadriplegia or paraplegia, while injuries to the head may also lead to vision.

Fact Sheet 11 – Children’s rights
Child abuse is the violation of a child’s rights. It is not limited to sexual or physical abuse, but encompasses any hurt to a child. Children may be hurt physically, emotionally and intellectually. Abuse has devastating long-term consequences, including physical injury which may be fatal and severe psychological and emotional damage.

Fact Sheet 12 – The role of men and boys
The achievement of gender equality is still to a large extent considered a woman’s issue. The integral role that men and boys should play in the achievement of gender equality has only recently started receiving attention. It has been recognised that a better understanding of gender roles and relations will assist in overcoming inequalities.

Fact Sheet 13 – Treatment and care
Survivors of sexual assault are entitled to treatment and care. This should be a comprehensive package consisting of counselling and medication to guard against the possibility of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s), pregnancy and HIV infection as a result of the assault.

Fact Sheet 14 – Gender violence and the workplace
Sexual harassment is any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature which has a negative effect on the person affected. It affects the health, relationships, personal lives and experiences of people in the workplace. What matters is how the victim is affected by the harassment, not what the harasser intended to do. Sexual harassment is a violation of the human rights enshrined in the South African Bill of Rights and Constitution.

Fact Sheet 15 – Places of safety and care
A challenge for many women who decide to leave abusive relationships is that of finding housing and shelter. There are not many shelters. Where they do exist, most are located in urban areas. Long-term shelters are almost always filled to capacity and there is often a long waiting list of women who are in need. The lack of “second stageÀ housing after taking temporary refuge at a shelter contributes greatly to this problem.

Fact Sheet 16 – The prevention and eradication of violence against woman and children
An addendum to the 1997 declaration on gender and development by SADC HEADS OF STATE OR GOVERNMENT

Download : Making IT work for gender justice
Download : Taking stock
Download : Empowerment of women and children
Download : Speaking out
Download : Maintenance and child support
Download : The justice for women campaign
Download : Audit of legislation and resources
Download : Gender violence and HIV / AIDS
Download : Young women, violence and HIV / AIDS
Download : International Day for the disabled
Download : Children's rights
Download : The role of men and boys
Download : Treatment and care
Download : Gender violence and the workplace
Download : Places of safety and care
Download : The prevention and eradication of violence against women and children

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