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SA must end 'cancer of abuse against women, children'

Staff Reporter

The year 2009 must become a 365-day campaign of no violence against women and children, President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Wednesday.

The year 2009 must become a 365-day campaign of no violence against women and children, President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Wednesday.

“In 1994 we destroyed the edifice of apartheid, in 2009 and beyond we must destroy the cancer of abuse of our women and children,” said Motlanthe at a closing ceremony for the 16 days of no violence against women and children campaign, in Queenstown in the Eastern Cape.

“I want to call on all South Africans and people in our country to make the 16 Days of Activism of No Violence against Women and Children Campaign a 365-day campaign that we will wage every minute, every hour and every day during 2009.”

Motlanthe said that in South Africa a third of rape victims were under 17-years-old, and children were the victims of 41% of all rapes and attempted rapes in the country.

A child was abused every eight minutes in the country and 85% to 90% of the perpetrators were known to the child.

Fifty percent of women in South Africa had a chance of being raped in their lifetime and more than 40% of perpetrators were known to the rape survivor.

Motlanthe said it was a “regrettable fact” that most perpetrators of gender-based violence were men.

Government, NGOs, community-based organisations and the private sector would need to work together to achieve this, he said.

Motlanthe said many laws and policies had been introduced since 1994 with the intention of creating gender equality.

“The onus is now upon us to ensure that these laws are worth the paper they are written on.”

The abuse of woman and children, as well as the neglect of people infected with HIV or living with Aids, was a violation of human rights and the country’s Constitution.

“We must commit ourselves as a country, as men and women, boys and girls, the young and the old, as city and rural dwellers to open a new chapter in South Africa’s history.

“The task of building a truly caring and non-sexist society is a mammoth but achievable one,” said Motlanthe.—Sapa

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