The scourge of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) mostly affects women and the girl child in southern Africa, with its multi-dimensional effects negatively also impacting on the lives of men and boys in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
Globally, one in two women have experienced GBV at some point in their lives, while in South Africa, reports indicated that someone was raped every 25 seconds.
It is on the back of such empirical evidence that the Regional Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (RWPC) of the SADC Parliamentary Forum tabled a motion during the 44th Plenary Assembly Session of the Forum in 2018 to develop a regional Model Law on Gender Based Violence (GBV).
The 44th Plenary Assembly unanimously adopted the motion in an attempt to remove threats to peace, security and the accomplishment of different developmental objectives.
Following the adoption of the motion, the SADC PF launched stakeholder consultations on 18 August 2021 targeting different players in the public and private sectors. They included human rights commissioners, traditional leaders, GBV survivors and different United Nations agencies, to name a few.
Speaking at the launch, the Chairperson of the RWPC, Honorable Anne-Marie Mbilambangu explained that the Model Law should be a tool used by SADC Member States to prevent and eradicate all forms of GBV.
She said that the RWPC would do everything “to improve social and economic conditions for women, because we think that they are the most affected by all forms of GBV.”
She added: “Our objective is to do it in such a way that everyone – in particular women within the region – regardless of colour or belief, have the possibility to accomplish their full potential without any hiccups or interference by GBV.”
South African Community Advocate Caroline Peters narrated her harrowing ordeal as a GBV survivor during the consultative meeting and bemoaned the fact that ever since she experienced GBV, very little had changed in terms of statistics.
“I am a survivor of brutal gang rape and my friend was murdered at the age of 16. When this happened to me, I didn’t realise this would be the
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