KING William’s Town was brought to a standstill recently after scores of community and youth members staged a peaceful picketing and prayer session in front of the magistrate’s court on Friday afternoon.
More than 100 women and men dressed in black displayed signs expressing their frustration against the scourge of women and child abuse in South Africa.
Event organisers Siphosethu Hobongwana and Sinikwe Nqeno were both happy with the support the event received.
“We only distributed the notice [about the protest] on social media and requested our friends to share the information and look at this result today,” said Hobongwana.
Gender activist and former commissioner for the Commission for Gender Equality Nomsisi Bata addressed the crowd.
During her speech, she stressed her concern about the alarming rate of gender based violence.
“What we see and read about is just the tip of an iceberg. What about the myriad of unreported cases?” she asked.
“What about the many rapes and unreported cases and the families that still believe it (GBV) must be dealt with within the family circles?
“Where does it leave those traumatised and battered?”
Bata added that a woman was raped every minute and a child abused every minute in SA.
“Women and children are not safe at home, school, church, at institutions of higher learning or in their place of work where sex for jobs and sexual harassment is rife,” said Bata.
She said that South Africa must amend the law so that no rapist, murderer or serial killer be afforded bail.
“They must not be given legal aid, they must serve life sentences with no option for parole because it has proven in many instances they return not rehabilitated and commit the same crimes.
“They become repeat offenders, so they must rot in jail,” she said.
“Vetting must be implemented by both public and private institutions and sexual offenders must never be employed in places where they interact with women and children.”