Political parties’ plans thin on dealing with rape-SowetanApril09

Date: September 17, 2009
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This article may be used to:
– Highlight the absence of women’s issues in political party manifestos
– The importance of the inclusion of women in the democratic processes that affect them
– The role of women in the development process
– As an example of a balanced article
– As an example of an article which calls for solutions not rhetoric as a means of dealing with problems
– As an example of a language that uses acceptable language
– As an example of an article that encourages the electorate to vote wisely

Trainer’s notes
As South Africa goes into yet another election, women are still remain conspicuous by their absence in political party manifestos .A lot still needs to be done in the area of gender parity in politics. There is a need to prioritise women’s issues in government and to open up spaces for women at all levels of government so to ensure that they take part in all democratic and policy process that affect them.

The report gives statistics .This is an indication of good journalist practise. It gives statistics on the number of rapes reported in a given period, the percentage of arrests and the percentage of convictions. The report is also applauded for the fact that it interrogates election promises in a critical manner. It calls for action and not rhetoric in dealing with the problem of rape. The article calls for a multi-dimensional response to violence against women which goes beyond the parameters of the criminal justice system. The responses need to take into perspective the societal; economic. It is indeed important that all stake holders are involved if this problem is to be solved.

Moreover, the article seeks to hold politicians to account and to ensuring that women do not just serve as just voting fodder in electoral campaigns. The article highlights that democracy has not heralded fundamental shifts in the status of women and this needs to change.

The use of the word ‘rape survivor’ as opposed to ‘rape victim’ is encouraged as it gives power back to the violated woman and recognises their strength in surviving the ordeal.

Furthermore, the article is praised for underscoring the need for women’s participation in the development process and makes a call to political parties to mainstream gender parity. The article however, missed an opportunity to not only to interrogate the ruling ANC over the dismantling of the Family Violence ,Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit while simultaneously pronouncing such crimes a priority, but fails to state the impact this has had in dealing with crimes of a sexual nature.

Discussion Questions
– South Africa has a very bad record when it comes to reporting rape and other crimes of a sexual nature and an even appalling conviction rate. Why do you think this is the case and what can be done to address this?

Training exercises

– Participants are to visit the nearest police station and ask the police station to guide them through a step -by-step process of what needs to happen when a rape is reported.
– Embark on a radio campaign aimed at engendering South African politics

Other training resources
Ask participants to familiarise themselves with the Sexual Offences NO 74 2008 Acthttp://www.doj.gov.za/docs/InfoSheets/2008%2002%20SXOactInsert_web.pdf





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