Online volunteering platform Forgood.co.za launched its campaign earlier this month to raise R100,000 to help women who have been affected by gender-based violence (GBV). The funds will go directly to Lawyers against Abuse (LvA), a non-profit organisation that provides free legal services and psychosocial support to victims of GBV.
“Our goal this year is to make Women’s Month count. With your help, we can ensure that victims of GBV are not further victimised by the justice system – and that their cases are heard and followed up on by the authorities. By donating towards this campaign, you can play an active role in creating and reinforcing support structures for women to come forward and receive the help they desperately need,” says Romy Heldsinger, CEO at Forgood.
Failure of the justice system
One of the main reasons for continued violence in South Africa is the failure of the justice system in GBV cases. These failures create an environment where perpetrators of violence are not held accountable for their actions. In South Africa, perpetrators of GBV are only arrested in 58% of reported rape cases, and only 18.5% of these cases ever go to trial. Of these cases, less than 9% end in a conviction, according to research conducted by the Medical Research Council.
“Victims of GBV are often further victimised when seeking justice by discriminatory police attitudes, victim blaming and the traumatic and adversarial courtroom environment. Without comprehensive support services, GBV victims are expected to navigate the complex and often hostile legal process alone. This can discourage women from pursuing legal action, and leave them open to further abuse,” says Rethabile Mosese, deputy director at LvA.
Driving systemic change
“Helping individual women to access the support they need has a knock-on effect that results in greater awareness of these issues and – in the long term – systemic change that can benefit generations of women to come,” says Heldsinger. “The money we raise this month will go directly towards making sure victims of GBV get the right legal and psychosocial support. It’s our way of saying we have had enough.”
For more information and to support the campaign, click here.