Jeanne Bodenstein, Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust
During the State of the Nation Address, delivered on Thursday February 7, President Cyril Ramaphosa more than once mentioned the issue of gender-based violence.
He confirmed that more funds will be dedicated to places of support, such as Thuthuzela Care Centres, and that government is working to ensure the better functioning of Sexual Offences Courts.
Funds must be made available to civil society organisations who already provide specialist support services to survivors to continue to deliver and expand these services. This will mean that more rape survivors can access justice and support services.
We are pleased that the president committed to work with partners in civil society to implement the decisions of the National Summit on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide which took place last year.
We believe that all survivors of sexual offences should have access to a specialised court. Rape Crisis director Kathleen Dey says, “We believe that the culture of impunity for perpetrators of rape will be addressed by a stronger criminal justice system with support services, sexual offences courts and more prosecutions”.
The Rape SuRvivors’ Justice Campaign, a Rape Crisis advocacy project,calls on the South African government to put the necessary legislation and regulations into effect so that Sexual Offences Courts can be established across the country.
We are also calling on the president to honour his public commitment to ensure that survivors of rape receive specialist services.
We will monitor the upcoming budget speech to see if the necessary funds are made available.