NATIONAL NEWS - Gender-based violence (GBV) is a profound and widespread problem in South Africa that is systemic and deeply entrenched in institutions, cultures and traditions in South Africa.
GBV occurs as a result of normative role expectations and unequal power relationships between genders.
The expectations associated with different genders vary from society to society and over time. Patriarchal power structures dominate in many societies, in which male leadership is seen as the norm, and men hold most of the power.
Patriarchy is a social and political system that treats men as superior to women – where women cannot protect their bodies, meet their basic needs or participate fully in society, and where men perpetrate violence against women with impunity.
A domestic violence relationship refers to a relationship between the victim and perpetrator where they:
- Are or were married;
- Live or lived together in a relationship as a husband and wife;
- Are the parents of a child;
- Are family members related by marriage, blood or adoption;
- Are or were engaged, or had a romantic relationship;
- Share or recently shared the same residence.
Domestic violence includes:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional, verbal or psychological abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Economic abuse
- Damage to property
- Unauthorised entry into victim’s residence
- Controlling behaviour towards the victim that endangers the safety or well-being of the victim
What to do if you are a victim of domestic violence:
- Lay a criminal charge, if there is an offence;
- Apply for a protection order at the nearest Magistrate’s Court; or
- Do both
A protection order is issued by a magistrate upon the application of the victim.
- It compels the perpetrator of domestic violence to act in a certain acceptable manner;
- It prohibits the perpetrator from committing family violence;
- It prevents the perpetrator from getting help from another person to commit such acts.
If the perpetrator contravenes any provision of the protection order, the perpetrator may be arrested.
When a perpetrator disobeys a protection order, contact the police immediately.
Domestic violence has a traumatic impact not only on adults, but even more so on the children who are witnesses of it. They are victims as well, as their right to physical and psychological welfare is contravened. Children often think that they are the reason for the domestic abuse. They have feelings of guilt and are traumatised. According to research it often happens that children who witnessed domestic violence also become victims or perpetrators as adults.
For the sake of your children and yourself, stand up against domestic violence.
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