Initiative aims to tackle GBV and forced marriages

Gender-based violence is one of the biggest crises facing SA, and in an effort to combat the scourge, Joko has partnered with People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) to launch the #EndDomesticSilence initiative.

This initiative will see Joko and POWA assisting with organisations around the country to better respond to domestic violence, provide training on recognising the different forms of GBV and what steps can be taken to prevent it.

They will also be hosting what POWA head of projects Kate Mocheki calls “Tea Talks” with local communities.

These are dialogues where community members can engage in open conversations about domestic violence and work together to find ways to address it.

“The sector strengthening training and Tea Talks aim to build the capacity of community-based organisations to better respond to domestic violence, while assisting them to offer women a safe space that is non-judgmental and supportive where they can speak out and share their experiences while receiving the support they need to end their abuse,” Mocheki said.

Mocheki said one form of GBV of particular concern was the frequent kidnapping and subsequent forced marriages involving young women or children.

“Sometimes parents do this out of poverty because they feel they can’t afford to raise their daughter properly or because the same was done to them,” she said.

“In many instances, the man will make the abducted girl or woman pregnant quickly, so she’s less likely to go back home because of the shame. She becomes his family’s property.

“If her husband dies, they choose who she will remarry. They can even make her marry her husband’s brother.

“These women can’t go home or make their own decisions and are never happy. This affects their mental health, which in turn leads to illnesses like diabetes and high blood pressure.”

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