By Jane Sithole MPL, DA Spokesperson on Women and Children:
It is a step in the right direction and encouraging to see that the plight for women in need of assistance when abused is getting the attention in deserves from the department of Social Development. The DA would like to commend the Deputy Minister of Social Development, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu for launching the Hlayisani White Door Centre of Hope in Mpumalanga.
According to the department, these centres will serve as temporary shelters which provide accommodation and other basic needs such as food, clothing as well as counselling and psychosocial support to abused women. The centres will further protect women from secondary abuse.
Social Development MEC, Nomsa Mtshweni must ensure that all the necessary support structures from her department are in place. The necessary tools to assist these women would be available and the staff compliment would be sufficient and properly qualified to deal with issues of abuse and related matter.
Women are mostly the backbone of families, and families are the core unit around which individuals and children prosper. We need to encourage women to speak out through various platforms about abuse and to instill back confidence within themselves.
It is hard to gather accurate statistical data in South Africa because domestic violence is rarely reported. Government must reinforce its drive to educate women about their rights and what services are at their disposal. The Protection Order that derives from the Domestic Violence Act is currently the biggest assistance to women who are in abusive relationships, however how many women are aware of this?
The silence of our mothers, sisters and daughters must be broken.