Hundreds of women march to Parliament to protest against gender-based violence

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CAPE TOWN, August 1 – Hundreds of members of the Total Shutdown movement on Wednesday took to the streets of Cape Town to protest against gender-based violence.

The movement aimed to bring the country to a halt as women across South Africa gathered to protest against the rampant violence against women and children.

Venetia Orgill, founder of Discover Your Power, gender-based violence organisation in Mitchells Plain said that she had joined the march in support of the women and children who need to be saved from abuse.

“So many women are looking for help, from being raped, being abused in marriages, in the workplace by colleagues, by bosses, by husbands, by brothers, by grandfathers and uncles.

“And within the community, especially where I work with homeless people of the street, so many women are abused and today I march for those who haven’t found freedom yet,” she said.

Orgill added that women and child abuse has become so open “to a point where it has become a fashion that we dress ourselves in and that is not good”.

She said the further hoped that the march would send a clear message that women have had enough.

Jessica Booysen from non-governmental organisation Sonke Gender Justice said: “There are so many women and children getting raped and killed every day and I feel like its just fair and equally enough for women to come together to support this.”

She said she felt women’s rights were not given enough attention, highlighted by the rise in the number of women and children suffering abuse at the hands of men. According to Booysen, the cause of the high rate of gender-based violence was “justice not being served accordingly”, with rapists and murderers released from jail only to claim more victims.

A bystander, Trevor Flowers from Mitchells Plain, who is a single parent of two daughters, said he was disappointed that the march was only for women as not all men abused women and children. He said wished men against gender violence were invited to take part in the march to raise awareness that there were men who also stand with the women in their fight against abuse.

“Even if they called us and told us to wear dresses in black and red, I would have come and I am sure a lot of men would have been here today. Because not all men are violent towards women and children in this country. I am a single father supporting my two daughters.”

Wednesday marks the beginning of Women’s Month.

– African News Agency (ANA)