Gender Justice Barometer, Issue 29, November 2008

Date: July 2, 2009
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Sixteen Days Special




*Regional: Measuring gender violence is a must LEGISLATION
* DRC: Steering committe set up for implementation of resolution 1325

* Malawi: HIV put women in line of fire
* Malawi: Elections get ugly for women
* DRC: Rape crisis set to worsen amid Kivu chaos
* Tanzania: Violence against women on the increase

* DRC: 24 hour service for rape survivors set up

*Africa: No more excuses for gender violence
* Swaziland: Escalating violence against women
*DRC: Women make a declaration condemning violence against women

* Namibia: Gender violence takes centre stage


*2008 Sixteen Days campaign: Human Rights for women
*Regional: Cyber dialogues: Switching on for gender justice
*Regional: 14 Nov: Media part of the problem or part of the solution
* Regional: Taking stock round table and cyber dialogue
* Regional: Speaking out cyber dialogue
* South Africa: 26-28Nov: Domestic Violence conference 10 years after Act
* Mauritius: Launch of I stories: HIV &AIDS
*South Africa: Launch of the ‘I’ Stories
* Launch of Red Light 2010 and human trafficking cyber dialogue
*South Africa: 29th Nov: Take Back the Night March
*  3rd Dec: Cyber dialogue: International Day for  the Disabled
* 4th Dec: launch of anti taxi violence CD and cyber dialogue
* 5th Dec: Gender and Elections panel discussion and cyber dialogue

* 9th Dec: Gender violence and Xenophobia face to face discussion and cyber dialogue
*10th Dec: Launch of 365 Day calendar, media literacy graduationa and Human Rights Day cyber dialogue
Global: 2008 Sixteen Days of Activism Campaign: Human Rights for women
Around the world, this year’s 16 Days campaign is focussing on celebrating the 60th Anniversary on International Declaration of Human Rights. Human rights cannot be universal without human rights for women. This year the global theme is Human Rights for Women À¹-Àº Human Rights for All: UDHR60.The UDHR60 campaign offers an opportunity to advocate for women’s rights and the quest to end gender inequality, and to create a world free from violence, discrimination and injustice. These are critical to building a just, peaceful and sustainable world where human rights for all are respected. For more information of the global theme, click here

Regional: Cyber  dialogues: Switching on for gender justice

As part of this year’s Sixteen Days of Activism gender activists in Southern Africa    Switch on for gender justice using Information Technologies (IT). Cyber dialogues which have become an annual feature  of the campaign  are moderated online chats on thematic issues related to gender justice on selected days. They  are  hosted on the Gender Links website.  This  year’s cyber dialogues  take place in mainly three languages: English, French and Nguni. The cyber dialogues are preceded by face to face discussions.  Clickhere for cyber dialogues schedule andthemes.

You can join the chat on any of those selected dates at the designated time. If you have not used the chat facility before  please follow instructions below to register:
> Go to Gender Links website on the home page
> Click on Etalk in the middle of the home page or click on the cyber dialogues on the top menu bar.  
>  Click on the Gender Links Chat.

> Once there you will see a login screen. Move down and click on register.
> Complete all the registration details. Write down your login and password and click REGISTER.
> You will return to the login page, now type in your login and password and click LOGIN.
> Select the room you want to chat in. To select language chat room go to bottom left hand corner of the page and click on the drop down button. Select language from options presented and press enter.


>  Click on the Cyber dialogues in the middle of the wheel or on the top menu bar.
> Click on the Gender Links Chat.
> Once there you will see a login screen.

>   Fill in your login and password and click on LOGIN.
> Select the room you want to chat in.

> To select language chat room go to bottom left hand corner of the page and click on the drop down button. Select language from options presented and press enter.
See below themes  for  cyber dialoguesand related eventsheld so far:

Regional: 14 Nov: Media part of the problem or part of the solution in ending gender violence

The media came under focus in a cyber chat where participants interogated whether media is part of the  problem or part of the solution in ending gender based violence. Most journalists argue that the way they cover gender based violence or any other issue for that matter is objective and is mere reflection of society. Another small proportion do acknowledge that since media does have the power to form and sway opinion of audiences, they directly and indirectly play an advocacy role. The question is should media play this activism role?

In the dialogue  where participants  were  from Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Swaziland, Botswana, Mozambique, Seychelles, Zambia, New Mexico, USA, Namibia and Malawi while from within South Africa, participants logged in from Durban, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Khutsong and Soweto there was a heated debate.

An array of issueswere discussed ranging from defining women’s media, financing women in the media and the gender imbalance in media ownership. Read fact sheet and cyber dialogue summary

South Africa: Taking stock round table and regional cyber dialogue  – Government urged to put its money where its mouth is
Johannesburg 25 November: NGOs urged the government to “put its money where its mouth isÀ in the fight against gender violence at the start of the 2008 Sixteen Days of Activism campaign.
In a stock taking exercise held at Constitution Hill ahead of 25 November – International Day of No Violence Against Women À“ government representatives listed several initiatives that are being taken to curb the scourge of violence against women and children that remain among the highest in the world.
Minister in the Presidency responsible for gender Manto Tshabalala-Msimang announced that at the just-ended African Development Forum in Addis Ababa South Africa was held up as a shinning example for its adoption of a multi sector 365 Day National Action Plan (NAP) to end gender violence. UNIFEM used the occasion to launch an Africa-wide 365 day campaign.
Almost two years since the adoption of the NAP in March 2007, government plans to set up a fully staffed 365 Day Secretariat from 1 January 2009. But this is funded by the Danish government, which is also supporting roll out of the Thutuzela Centres or “one stop shopsÀ for victims of gender violence. There are currently ten such centres in six provinces, but they only service about 10 percent of the need.
The plan is to scale up the number of the centres, that has proved effective both in providing comprehensive treatment and care, as well as securing convictions in an area where general conviction rates are only about 7 percent.  Read full press release
Cyber dialogue: Taking stock-24th Nov
Following the round table discussion a regional cyber dialogue was held. The dialogue aimed at taking stock of progress in the implementation of year long National Action Plansto End Gender Violence  by countries which have developed plans.
Poll question resultsfor the day
Do you think that Sixteen Days of Activism has made an impact in addressing gender-based violence?
A) Yes                                                               75.68%
B) No                                                                 24.32%
Quote of the day:
“Let us not put all the responsibility on our governments, each of us needs to individually do our part to halve gender-based violence by 2015À
Regional: 25 November: Speaking out cyber dialogue
On International Women’s Day survivors of gender violence from Mauritius, Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa joined hands in a cyber chat to discuss their experiences with other progressive women and men in a bid to promote speaking out against gender based violence. Survivors who participated in the dialogue ound the dialogue empowering and therapeutic as they realised that they are not alone in their struggle. The same group of people participated in a project ‘I’ stories which involves women writing their own stories. The  ‘I’ stories are explained below.  Click here to view fact sheet and cyber dialogue summary.
South Africa: 26-28 Nov: Domestic Violence conference ten years after the Act
The Domestic Violence Act of South Africa came under review at a conference to celebrate 10 years since passing of the piece of legislation.  Local civil societyorganisations have in the  past ten years developed and implemented a number of interventions ranging from public awareness and education campaigns to provision of counselling, legal services and sheltering for survivors of domestic violence and the forum took took time to reflect on progress made thus far.
Objectives of the conference included:
  • Take stock of the progress made in the struggle against domestic violence in South Africa since the promulgation of the Act;
  • Reflect on the gains and challenges faced by both government and civil society in the eradication of domestic violence;
  • Share and debate the developments at the continental and international level in the field of   domestic violence;
  • Map the way forward.
Other events took place on the sidelines including  book launches, educational material exhibition, photographic exhibitions and screening of documentaries. The final report of the outcomes of the conference will be made available on once finalised.

South Africa: 26th Nov: Launch of the ‘I’ Stories
This year’s I stories were launched at Constitution Hill Jail Number 4 on the sidelines of a conference on domestic violence: “South African Domestic Violence Act: Lessons from a Decade of Legislation and ImplementationÀ The conference washosted by the Centre for the Study Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)  working with other Gender NGOs.
At  the event attended by over 60 local and regional gender activists, two survivors spoke out including Grace Maleka living with disability calling on all to treat her like any capable person. Maleka stressed that “Disability doesnot mean incapability” for she is a beautiful and capable woman inspite of her physical circumstances.
‘I’ stories are part of an annual series of first hand accounts  that are produced by Gender Links  of mostly women who have experienced abuse directly or have in some way been touched by gender violence.  This provides a platform for women to speak out against abuse. In the past one regional booklet has been produced each year. This year four countries (Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland) have produced country specific ‘I’ stories booklets are being launched during this 16 day period.
Join the debates on Women24 on ‘I’ Stories
Click here to view ‘I’ stories  

Mauritius: 1st Dec: Launch of ‘I’ Stories of women living with HIV and AIDS
The Prime Minister, Honourable Navinchandra Ramgoolam launched the Mauritius ‘I’ Stories accompanied by his wife Veena Ramgoolam and Minister of Women’s Rights, Indira   Seebun at Centre Chrysalide. Residents together with their children attended the launch of the book which focuses on first hand accounts of women living with HIV and AIDS and was produced by Gender Links in collaboration with MWO-GEMSA. It was the first time that the Prime Minister had visited the Centre. The event was so moving that the The Prime Minister asked  the Secretary to the Cabinet that the books be bought by Government of Mauritius to be distributed to schools and NGOs.

This was announced in Creole, French and English news tonight. PM wants all Mauritians to read the book and said that the book can serve to raise awareness on HIV and AIDS. He emphasised that no person living with HIV and AIDS will be discriminated as they are protected by laws and they must be aware of these laws. The Chairperson of Black River District Council has also placed an order. He wants to distribute the book to  NGOs of Black River.

Regional: 28 November: Launch of Red Light 2010 and human trafficking cyber dialogue

Women in Law Southern Africa (WLSA) regional office in collaboration with Southern Africa Network Against trafficking and abuse of children (SANTAC), Africa Gender Monitor & Federation o African Media Women in Southern Africa(FAMWSA ), Ekurhuleni Municipality & Gender Links, with support from Oxfam GB launched the Red Light 2010 Campaign focussing on anti-human trafficking as part of the Sixteen Days campaign. This is a call to action challenging all citizens of  the world to act against human trafficking.
WLSA Regional Director, Matrine Bhuku Chuulu  gave context of why Red Light 2010 and the significance of launching the campaign in the Ekurhuleni Municipality where Oliver R Tambo Airport is located. The airport is a potential gateway for increased human trafficking in the run up and during the 2010 World Cup that will be hosted in South Africa. The regional Director of Oxfam, Charles Abani and honourary president of CIVICUS Kumi Naidoo gave messages of solidarity among other speakers.
Cyber dialogue: Human trafficking, 24th November
The launch was followed by a cyber dialogue on anti-human trafficking.  View fact sheet and  cyber dialogue summary

South Africa:  Take Back the Night March: 29th November

The Honourable Deputy Minister of Safety and Security, Cde Susan Shabangu and Mayor of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, Ms Ntombi Mekgwe led Take Back the Night march on Saturday 29th November, joined by over 800 community members, councillors,municipality officials, NGOs, CBOs  from the Metro and surrounding areas.
The march aimed at reclaiming unsafe spaces began from Lesedi Shopping Complex in Voslororus to the local police station where a petition was handed to Deputy Minister Shabangu and the Police station commander by Mayor Mekgwe.
Therein the residents raised concern about the  high rate of rape of women, girls and young boys and other forms of gender based violence and child abuse and the  increased vulnerability and levels of sexual harassment of women and girls in public spaces. A number of demands were raised:
Ekurhuleni residents demanded that the following be acted upon urgently by SAPS in  Ekurhuleni:
  • One stop centres with comprehensive services for survivors of sexual violence
  • Specialised units in all police stations for victims of gender based violence
  • Provide Police training to ensure effective investigation and collection of evidence for rape survivors
  • Strong sentences for murder and rape offenders
  • That taxi ranks be declared gun free zones
  • Effective policing of public spaces at all times
  • Scaling up visible community protection programs
Regional: Time to set indicators to measure gender based violence
By Colleen Lowe Morna
Organisers of ADF VI concede that if the meeting  held in Addis Ababa 19 -21 November is to make a difference, it must come up with concrete targets and indicators for ending gender violence. That raises another challenge: what are current levels of gender violence, and how would one go about measuring if they have subsided?
It’s a very real challenge that Southern African governments are facing following the signing in August of the Protocol on Gender and Development that has 28 targets for achieving gender equality in the region, including halving current rates of gender violence by 2015.
At least eight of the 15 Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries have developed multi sector national action plans for ending gender violence. They now face the task of gathering baseline data on current rates of violence so that they can monitor progress in reaching the 2015 and the ultimate target of ending this scourge.
Over the course of the year, experts and governments in South Africa, Mauritius and Botswana have been working with Gender Links (GL), a Southern African NGO based in Johannesburg, on a pilot project to develop indicators for measuring gender violence.
Shortly before the ADF meeting, GL entered an agreement with the Economic Commission on Africa (ECA) for sharing the research findings and collaborating in a continent-wide initiative on gender violence indicators. The partnership is a demonstration of the benefits of civil society, government and multilateral agencies working together in devising meaningful measures for this flagrant human rights abuse.  Read  full article

Read more about the project on developing indicators to measure gender violence


DRC: Steering committe set up for implementation of the Council Resolution 1325

To mark the beginning of the 16 days of activism against violence to women, on 25 November 25 2008, the Democratic Republic of Congo has officially set up a steering committee responsible for the implementation of Council Resolution 1325 UN Security on women, peace and security. The Committee comprises 53 members representing the government, Parliament, civil society, media and UN agencies.
The creation of this committee comes within the framework of regional project to set up national action plans in the Great Lakes  to    “effectively implemented the recommendations of the Resolution 1325 of the United Nations.
Malawi: HIV laws put women in line of fire
A woman in Malawi left her husband after years of abuse. He found her and raped her, an act not criminalised in Malawi when it occurs within marriage.
The woman later tested positive for HIV and discovered that her husband had known his HIV-positive status for some time. When  she confronted him about why he had infected her, he responded: “Because we must leave together”.
Would a law criminalising HIV transmission have protected the woman or, at the very least, given her some opportunity for legal redress? The question is one that governments, legal experts and AIDS and gender activists in Southern Africa have been grappling with in recent months as a spate of laws have been passed in other parts of the continent enabling prosecution for HIV exposure or transmission.
Among the arguments in favour of such laws is that they help protect those who may have difficulty protecting themselves. Women who often lack the power to insist on condoms or faithfulness from their partners are often cited as being most in need of such protection. Read full article
Source: IRIN PlusNews

Malawi: Elections get ugly for women

By Pilirani Pemu-Banda
Malawi’s primary elections are getting ugly for women candidates. Shoving, derogatory songs and being pelted with stones are just some of the intimidating tactics aimed at discouraging women from contesting the primary elections that will select candidates for the parliamentary polls in May 2009.

Gertrude Nya Mkandawire, one of the strongest members of parliament (MP) for the ruling Democratic People’s Party (DPP), recently withdrew from the primaries in her Mzimba Solora constituency, in the north, where she was running against 10 men.

“I can’t take it anymore,” Nya Mkandawire told IPS. “I have faced different kinds of intimidation from fellow contenders, who are all men.” Angry crowds sang demeaning songs and shoved her around at rallies. “They have been destroying my campaign materials, including flags and posters, in the night to discourage me from contesting,” she added. Read full article.

Source: IPSNews

DRC: Rape crisis set to worsen amid Kivu chaos

Soaring insecurity in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has raised fears of a new wave of sexual violence in a region termed “the worst place in the world to be a womanÀ by aid workers.

During the first six months of 2008, there were more than 5,000 reported rape cases in the flashpoint province of North Kivu, according to data collected by doctors at health centres. The true figure is likely to be far higher, as women are too traumatised or afraid of stigma to seek help.

One hospital specialising in sexual violence in Goma, capital of North Kivu, admits on average four women a day – making more than 18,000 since it opened in 2003. Read full article

Tanzania: Violence against women on the increase
Nation-wide statistics show that cases of violence on women were on the rise as 6,531 were reported in 2007 compared to 4,084 in 2006. One of the most brutal forms of violence against women is rape, which in Tanzania carries a 30-year jail sentence. At the wake of the 16 days of activism against gender violence, the Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) of Tanzania strongly denounced all forms of violence against women and incidents of sexual abuse.


Africa: No more excuse for gender violence

Joyce Mulama

As the world marks the twenty-seventh International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, United Nations figures indicate that in the course of her lifetime, one in every three women is beaten, coerced into sex or abused, by a relative or acquaintance. In Africa, concerns continue to be raised over poor legislation and enforcement to protect women and girls from harm.

At the African Development Forum, held in Addis from Nov. 19-21, it emerged that many women do not report cases of violence, particularly those involving intimate partners, for fear of reprisal, which may include economic deprivation, physical abuse, or losing custody of their children.

“There is a deep culture of silence where women do not tell about their husbands or partners beating them; they fear that they may stop being provided for, particularly if the man is the bread winner,” says Auxillia Ponga, a gender advisor with the Commonwealth Secretariat. Read full article

Source: IPS

Swaziland: Escalating violence against women
Still wearing a campaign t-shirt with the slogan “FED UP: with violence against women”, Dlamini-Shongwe, the public relations officer for the Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA) is fresh from the Nov. 25 launch of the16 days activism against gender-based violence at Jubilee Park in Manzini.

IPS: Today you were launching the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence which ends on Dec. 10. What do you hope to achieve through this campaign?

Hlobisile Dlamini-Shongwe: Basically it is when we look back and take stock of the achievements in the interventions against gender-based violence and also take stock of the level of violence in the country in terms of whether we are increasing or going down considering the statistics.

It’s also a time to bring people together and say hey it’s not every day perhaps that you want to listen to us and take action, but during the 16 days let’s be together and remember those who died through violence. This is a chance also to let society pledge that we are not going to engage in violent actions and also not condone violence done by others.
Read full interview with IPS

Source: IPSNews

DRC: Women  make declaration condemning violence against women
To mark Sixteen Days of Activism  newspapers of Kinshasa and others towns of DRC have published a declaration from made by women denouncing violence against women. Below are a few excerpts from the declaration:

I denounce
I, Woman of the Democratic Republic of Congo, From the depths of my country, abused and battered since I agreed in 1994 to offer my hospitality in the context of the humanitarian corridor of Operation Turquoise …
I condemn, I condemn that I am dehumanized …
I denounce that I am raped by armed cohorts, by bandits of all stripes …
I denounce that I turned into a sexual beast of burden, I have no age: I am a girl raped from my cradle, I am a girl in the future shattered by rape, I am a mother family dislocated by sexual violence; I am an old woman debased and dishonored by unknown … They raped me:
– Before my parents;
– Before my children;
– Before my husband;
– Before my friends;
– In front of my neighbors;


Namibia: Gender violence takes centre stage

A HIGH-LEVEL inter-ministerial committee on gender-based violence was launched last week, following a 2002 Cabinet resolution to improve monitoring and evaluation on the strategies of gender-based violence. The launch of the committee coincided with events of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Children, which took place on Tuesday.

The 41-member committee consists of representatives from the Ministries of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Justice, Safety and Security, Education, Information, and Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, as well as representatives of faith-based, community-based and non-governmental organisations. The private sector is also expected to participate by advising, monitoring and co-ordinating national efforts to combat gender-based violence.

Launching the committee, President Hifikepunye Pohamba said its primary role would be “to advise on the road map for combating gender-based violence at household and community levels, and to develop and strengthen the implementation of strategies aimed at eliminating violence in the country.”

He urged the committee to ensure the implementation of the policy and programme recommendations made at the 2007 national conference on gender-based violence, saying: “The fight against violence against women and children is a fight we cannot afford to lose.”

Such incidents of violence against women and children continue to rise, and Pohamba called on the whole nation “to embrace the culture of zero tolerance against gender-based violence and violence in general”. Read full article


3rd December
Cyber dialogue: International Day for the Disabled
Ekurhuleni Head Office
10.30-12.00 Face to face discussion
12.00-13.00 Cyber dialogue
Or log on to
Loveness Jambaya
4th December Launch of the anti-taxi  violence CD
Ekurhuleni Head Office
10.30 -12.00 Panel discussion and launch of CD

12.00-13.00 Cyber dialogue
5th December Gender violence and elections Ekurhuleni HeaOffice

10.30 – 12h00 Panel discussion
12h00 – 13h00 Cyber dialogue (SA time
Loveness Jambaya

+27 11 622 2877
9th December Gender based violence and xenophobia
9h30 – 12h00
Cyber dialogue
12h00 -13h00
Sikhonzile Ndlovu

10th December
Launch of 365 Day calendar,  media literacy graduation and Human Rights Day cyber dialogue
Gender Links Office
Cyber dialogue
12h00 – 13h00 SA time
Launch of I stories, Partonian Hotel; 17h30 – 19h00
English, French, Seshotho, Zulu,
Loveness Jambaya Nyakujarah
or Sikhonzile Ndlovu on
+2711622 2877

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