The annual 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children aims to generate an increased level of awareness among all South Africans about the negative impact of gender-based violence. We are in the grip of a relentless war being waged on the bodies of women and children that, despite our best efforts, shows no signs of abating.
Molefe Dlepu Incorporated provides some essential insight into the matter to the gender-based violence pandemic and what victims can do to protect themselves.
What constitutes violence?
There are several categories of violent behaviour, each of which has its own devastating consequences. It is essential for victims to know and understand the concept of violence in order to be able to react accordingly and report the issue. Violence can be any form of harm which is inclusive, but no limited to, the following:
- Physical and sexual violence – hurting your body physically or sexually;
- Verbal abuse – insulting you, intimidating you or threatens you with violence;
- Sexual violence – harassing you sexually;
- Emotional abuse and intimidation – humiliating and degrading you at home or in public;
- Financial and/or economic abuse – controlling how you use your money;
- Trespassing – if the abuser enters your home or property without your consent;
- Preventing you from getting or keeping a job, or to see friends or relatives; and
- Stalking, by following or visiting you without your permission.
What can victims of violent relationships do to protect themselves?
Mostly, in our society, victims of violent relationships tend to believe that the perpetrators will change, mainly because it is usually someone close to them i.e. boyfriend, parents, siblings, spouse and other relatives.
No matter how small the incident of abuse or violence might be, the victims must take action against the perpetrator. It is important for victims to know that there are various steps that they can follow to ensure that they are protected.
- A victim may lay a criminal charge against the perpetrator at the police station.
- A victim may also apply for a protection order at the nearest magistrate’s court.
A Protection Order is a court order prohibiting the abuser from engaging in or attempting to engage in harassment or enlisting the help of another to do so. A protection order may further contain a list of specific acts which the abuser may not commit.
Who can apply for a protection order?
- Any victim of gender-based or domestic violence, children and, if they are too young, a parent or guardian, or any person acting on behalf of someone who is responsible for them, but with their permission may apply for a protection order.
- You may also apply for a court order on behalf of another person if you have a material interest in the well-being of that person. If the victim is older than 18 years of age, the written consent of the victim is required to make an application on his/her behalf.
What information and/or evidence may you gather in support of the Protection Order?
- A specific record of all occurrences of domestic violence/abuse against you or your children. Particularly note the date and times in a notebook or a paper;
- Obtain all the relevant details of the person whom you want to be protected against, including his/her home and work addresses, telephone numbers and identity number;
- If you can, document the physical abuse my taking photos of your injuries/bruises and/or the physical damage the abuser caused in your property;
- Take statements/affidavits from people who witnessed the abuse;
- Keep medical records or clinical notes if and when you were treated for physical abuse. You may further request your doctor to fill in a J88 Form.
- Gender Based Violence Command Centre: Call 0800 428 428 or dial *120*786#
- Stop Gender Violence helpline: 0800 150 150
- Report neglect or abuse of a child: 0861 4 CHILD (24453)
- SAPS: 08600 10111
- Childline: 08000 55 555
- People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA): 011 642 4345
- South African Human Rights Commission: 011 484 8300
Molefe Dlepu Incorporated has a highly skilled team of attorneys and litigation secretaries to assist you with obtaining a Protection Order.
Should you require an explanation of your rights on this topic, please contact us for more information at 011 616 0005 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org