We are proud to introduce another voice in our “16 Voices in 16 Days” Campaign against gender-based violence!
Our Incredible partners, The V & A Waterfront, have used their platform to stand up against gender-based violence. The V&A Waterfront is an iconic mixed-use destination located in the oldest working harbour in the Southern Hemisphere. The V&A is a symbol of heritage and diversity, where people from all walks of life can play, live, shop, dine and work while immersed in the vibrant spirit and authentic local culture that exists in this bustling ecosystem.
It sees its role on the continent to be a platform that facilitates and champions art and design, to support entrepreneurship and innovation, lead the charge on sustainability, and drive positive social and economic change. By prioritising people and the planet, the V&A is an example of how working with communities, respecting the environment and operating with passion and integrity is a better, more productive and kinder way of doing business.
The Justice Desk believes in the power of the everyday person, especially in their ability to create lasting, impactful and effective change in their communities! Through this campaign, we hope to both raise awareness to #GBV, but also to unite and inspire others in order to take action within their own spaces. Ending GBV is not the fight of some, but of us all!
Let us never forget to recognise the incredible power that we as South Africans have, when we come together, to make a change.
By amplifying these 16 remarkable changemakers, we hope to inspire YOU in contributing YOUR own thoughts and voice, as we unite in solidarity in the important fight against gender-based violence.
A response to Gender-Based Violence
"South Africa has made significant progress as a country on gender empowerment through various forms of policy and programmes to redress the injustices and inequalities of the past. Despite its progress on the global landscape of gender equality or the policy provisions, the issue of gender-based violence (GBV) has persisted and increased to alarming levels. Gender-based violence in South Africa is beyond a widespread problem, it is a ‘pandemic’ in South Africa with profound and far-reaching repercussions across every aspect of life. While it is a worldwide phenomenon, South Africa has experienced and continues to be witness to some of the highest rates of GBV, including femicide, rape and intimate partner violence.
The socio-economic challenges of inequality have persisted into nearly three decades of the post-apartheid era, with gender inequality being a legacy of the past. Women have been directly impacted and most affected by this, experiencing multiple forms of violence at home and in public spaces and falling target to what is seemingly becoming a cycle of GBV in the country. Over the last 19 months, we have also witnessed how COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the existing inequalities within the country, surfacing the issues of GBV and its expressions of gender inequality and prevalence of toxic masculinity in our society.
In recent years, there has been an upswell in support for human rights activist organizations, and political leaders in condemning this violence. In 2017, gender equality was designated as one of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals putting global measures in place, and at the grassroots level, civil society has organized and mobilized marches and protests, speaking out and calling for an adequate response to the issue of violence against women in the country. As the V&A Waterfront, we believe that the issue of GBV is a whole society one, an issue that requires the attention and the efforts of governments, civil society and that corporates and institutions in driving mitigating measures and mechanisms to protect marginalized, women and girls against GBV and eradicate gender inequality and toxic masculinity.
At the core of the V&A Waterfront’s Shared Value strategy is the notion that we are all connected and responsible for the world we want to live in and leave behind. This concept informs our actions and responses as the city-making stakeholder and in this sense, directs our efforts towards examining the impact of gender inequality and working at intersections of gender and other inequalities in the context of GBV. The Waterfront has consistently worked with and supported organizations and initiatives in addressing the needs of marginalized women who face violence and seeks to entrench and increase its contributions to a collective movement for change.
As an organization, we strive to create safe spaces for all, while acknowledging the importance to redress imbalances that have lingered. Gender equality and transformation are key pillars in the growth of our business, and we work to be an exemplar in our sector. Further to this, we also acknowledge our reach beyond the business or the neighbourhood, and work with and have partnered with the organizations such as The Justice Desk as it engages at the grassroots level, working across the city and within our communities to catalyze change, advocate for human rights, gender equality while supporting survivors of GBV to access services and obtain justice. At the coalface of GBV is the immediate need for and importance of organizations such as The Justice Desk in addressing the needs of marginalized women who face violence. We are proud supporters of The Justice Desk and the Mbokodo Club, which works to support women and girls who have survived gender-based violence and provide them with the skills and counsel to build leaders and advocate for change.
We can no longer ignore the increase of GBV in South Africa as a society. The response to the issue is not isolated or limited to that of government or civil society organizations. Given the social stigma and misperceptions of GBV, we need a collective approach that must be amplified with activism, care, and support from all sectors of society to bring about change. As the V&A Waterfront, we also acknowledge the lack of and the importance of research and analysis to enable a better understanding of the phenomenon and have an informed response to an increasing and evolving issue. From our vantage point, we find it befitting to continue to support grassroots projects and initiatives and work collectively to challenge combat and counter social structures that normalize and neutralizes gender-based violence and toxic masculinity."
The Waterfront Programme Specialist