#Human Rights
Presidency of South Africa
South Africa

Charter for women, by women
Ending Gender Based Violence, Femicide, Rape and Abuse

The women of South Africa are tired of fighting. We have protested, we have attended gatherings, we have signed petitions and our cries have only ended up being silenced. We have no other choice but to carry pepper sprays, go for self-defense training, and still, we are left victimized, abused, and killed.
This charter will serve as a charter for women, by women. We want to end Gender Based Violence in this lifetime. We want freedom by any means necessary.

We want the government, and all citizens of the republic of South Africa to know that women are not free, in this country. We do not know how to live and we do not feel safe in our homes, because even there, our lives our cut short. Our rights, safety and security is stripped from us daily as we continuously hear of the killing, raping, and victimization of other women. We wonder if we could be next.
We want immediate change and transformation. We have heard the summits and empty promises. We now want action, implementation, and justice for all women.

1. Accountability for teachers who sexualize young girls at schools, and sexually harass them.
We want all young girls who have been sexually harassed by a teacher or principle to be given psychological counselling. Teachers who have harassed or victimized their learners should be removed as teachers, and not be allowed to teach at any school. Schools are meant to be safe spaces for learners to be able to leave their homes and still feel safe at school, where they spend 8 hours or more of their day.
2. Fund Women’s organizations
NPOs and Organizations that exist for women must be funded. These organizations help women and play a vital role in fighting GBV and protecting women. Without them, the women will not receive the help that they need.
3. End Secondary Victimization in court and at the police station.
We have seen many women who are victims of abuse die in silence, and not speak up because they are aware of the secondary victimization they will be subjected to should they go and report the case at the police station. Counsellors should be readily available in police stations to assist victims with their case. The SAPS Victim Empowerment Program must be community-led.

4. Stop Cross examining Victims in court.
Cross examining victims is another form of secondary victimization. We feel that it is the perpetrator who should be the one to prove that they did not commit the crime and should be the one being cross-examined. Victims should not be subjected to reliving the trauma and experience of being raped and abused. The court is supposed to provide justice for the victims, not traumatize them even more.
5. Perpetrators should prove beyond reasonable doubt that the abuse did not happen, in instances where they are unable to prove it. They must be charged and sentenced to the full extent of the law.
6. Perpetrators should not receive bail or be afforded an opportunity to apply for bail. They should remain in prison until the end of the trial. Allowing perpetrators to go free on bail, is unfair to victims and is a danger to society. It is subjecting victims to more victimization and allowing them to live in constant fear.
7. Perpetrators should be given life sentence with no parole and no option of applying for bail.
8. Online hate speech towards victims of abuse by ordinary citizens should be treated as a criminal offense. We need to create a society where women feel safe.
We believe all victims of abuse; we stand with them.
We demand justice for all those who lost their lives, and those who are still alive and having to carry the trauma of abuse with them. They deserve justice. They deserve peace.
We refuse to allow our society to continue as if things are normal. The femicide in South Africa will continue to rise if the government does nothing about it. We demand more than empty promises. We deserve more.
We fight with the spirit of the women of 1956. Victory will be ours.
The minute you release perpetrators on bail, you are saying the victim does not matter. Our lives as women matter. We want to ensure that we cement ourselves and liberate ourselves in society.

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The Charter for women petition to Presidency of South Africa was written by Break-the Silence and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.