The UN Special Rapporteur on the causes of violence against Women in South Africa, Ms. Dubravka Šimonović today released her preliminary findings at a Press Conference in Pretoria. Ms Šimonović’s report commends the South Africa constitution which guarantees human rights through laws such as the domestic violence and sexual offenses act, but said that the scars from the violence of Apartheid still resonate in the country’s social fabric dominated by deeply entrenched patriarchal attitudes towards the role of women, which makes violence against women and children an almost accepted phenomenon.
Ms Šimonović said her visit to shelters and a detention centre for migrants, where she met with individual victims of gender-based violence revealed stories which made her believe that the women were actually victors not survivors of violence because of their focus on empowerment and the way forward.
During her eight-day visit, the Special Rapporteur met with Government authorities, civil society representatives and other stakeholders in Pretoria, in the informal settlement of Diepsloot, various places in Johannesburg, Cape Town and East London.
Ms Šimonović recommended the establishment of a Femicide Watch which would release a report every year on November 25, detailing the number of gender related killings per year, desegregated by age and sex of the perpetrators as well as the relationship between perpetrator and victim, among other aspects.
“There is an urgent need, to focus on prevention. In order to do so there is need to investigate research and understand the complex dynamics of gender base violence in South Africa. All parts of society, in particular disadvantage groups need to be well informed on their rights on all steps of the process from reporting the crime to the prosecution and adjudication of their case.” She said
The initial UN Report is a culmination of Ms. Šimonović’s visit to South Africa from 4 to 11 December. The final and more comprehensive report will be released in June 2016.