John Moodey MPL
DA Gauteng Provincial Leader
Note: This extract is based on a speech delivered at Constitution Hill to a DA men’s march against rape.
On a daily basis we are confronted with reports of the violent rape, sexual assault and abuse of the women of Gauteng and our beautiful nation. Recent media coverage highlighting this scourge includes the horrific gang rape of 17 year old Anene Booysen. The equally disgusting report of the 23 year old woman who, while walking home to Mpahla Village in Carletonville with her friend, was hit on the head with a knobkerrie before being dragged to nearby bushes where she was allegedly raped by eight men. The alleged repeated raping of a 14-year-old girl in Zola Soweto and offering of money afterwards by the perpetrator.
We heard about the disturbing report of a woman who was allegedly gang raped by police at a station in Centurion when she tried to report domestic violence. According to the Medical Research Council about a third of Gauteng men have raped, at least once in their lives. The same research shows that nearly 10% of men in this province have participated in gang rape. Thus statistics indicate that one out of every three women will be raped in their lifetime.
Now is the time that we as a society and we as men in particular, do more than just shake our heads: we must stand up, speak out and be counted in the war against rape, gender-based violence and other social ills affecting our fellow South Africans. This situation has been described as a State of Emergency and as a War on Women’s Bodies. Ending this war starts with each one of us, individually, taking charge.
It starts with me and with you. It starts with me vowing to never commit, condone, nor support or remain silent about men’s violence against women.
It starts with me promising never to rape another and to never coerce anyone I know into having sex, or to pressure them into any kind of unwanted physical contact.
It starts with me, standing up and speaking out against gender-based violence and discrimination or ill-treatment of women.
It starts with me being an example to my friends on how we can help end gender-based violence and rape.
It starts with me as a parent teaching my children, especially my sons to respect all women.
I am here today to stand up and to proudly proclaim that I choose to respect, listen to and seek equality with every person, with every woman, I interact with and every person I know. It doesn’t just start and end with me.
I believe, the DA believes that the whole of society has a part to play in speaking out and fighting this abuse. As men, we have a responsibility to honour, protect and respect all women and to be role models for other men in our families, workplace and communities. This responsibility applies to all aspects of South African life; from parents committing to paying child maintenance, to standing up against corruption and fraud, to showing compassion and caring for those living in poverty or with disabilities.
As DA Gauteng Provincial Leader and Member of the Provincial Legislature I vow to do whatever I can to ensure that the provincial government does everything in its powers to bring on board all of society to fight rape and gender-based violence.
In DA-governed Midvaal in Gauteng , the municipality supports all CPF’s and VEC programmes at police stations in the area. The municipality also made a significant financial contribution to the building of a first-class VEC facility at De Deur Police Station. They also provide a handbag of feminine products that victims are able to use to cleanse themselves and at least walk out of the station with their dignity restored in some part. We will continue to do more.
The DA will continue to monitor and demand accountability in the implementation of the domestic violence act.
The DA will continue to monitor and demand accountability in the detection, investigation and prosecution of people who rape or abuse women and children.
The DA will continue to monitor and demand care for and the empowerment of those who had to endure rape, domestic violence and other abuse.
Changing the high rate of violence and rape starts each of us and requires the involvement of everyone – parents, teachers, politicians, nurses, doctors, lawyers, social workers, police officers, taxi drivers, etc. It, especially, requires the involvement of us, as men: as husbands, as fathers, as brothers, as mentors and as role models. Now is your time to stand up, speak out, and be a part of the change that ensures the safety, the protection, and the prosperity of our wives, mothers, daughters, sisters and, ultimately, our nation.
Thank you for being here, thank you for standing up, and thank you for speaking out and being part of this change which begins today.