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SVAI supports stand against gender-based violence

Shared Valued Africa Initiative (SVAI) has added its voice to the stand against gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) and has called on faith-based organisations to use Sunday 9 August 2020 as a day of prayer for an end to this scourge. Believing that gender equality is a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world, SVAI’s call came during its announcement that it was putting its weight behind the #ITSNOTOK movement.

SVAI CEO Tiekie Barnard says now is the time to act. “Don’t let 2020 be just another year when we celebrate Women’s Day and Month with well wishes and gimmicky gifts. In South Africa, GBVF has spiralled during COVID-19, yet we seem to continue with our lives regardless. How long do we as a country have to carry the shame of GBVF? The time has come to take a stand. We have the choice to make a difference.”

A range of companies and organisations are putting their weight behind the #ITSNOTOK initiative.

“GBV is not ok! Never has been, never will be!” says Dr Barbara Jensen Voster, Senior Executive Manager: Communication and Marketing of Gautrain Management Agency.

Through its support of the #ITSNOTOK movement, SVAI has issued a call to:

  • CEOs to pledge their support not only to stand up against GBV, to commit to including gender equity on the boardroom agenda and in the company strategy. This is a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.
  • Businesses to use their own media or advertising space to create awareness.
  • The government to create a measurement matrix for all government departments working with victims or investigating perpetrators. This will assist transparency on what has been implemented and achieved.
  • Religious organisation to declare Sunday, 9 August 2020 a National Day of Prayer for GBVF victims.
  • South African citizens to join the #ITSNOTOK movement, use the movement’s artwork on social media channels, and to call on their online networks to spread the worth that #ITSNOTOK.
  • Communities and neighbourhoods to create a human chain between 9am – 10am on 9 August (adhering to social distancing – 2 metres between each person) to show support for the #ITSNOTOK movement.

“JCDecaux South Africa (and I am sure my colleagues and Co MD feel the same way), pledges our support of this initiative,” says Acting CEO Lunga Majija. “We will ensure that GBV is on the agenda in our boardroom and reverberates in our organisation as a whole as this affects our employees as well as our family members.

“As a father to a young daughter, a brother to a sister and a son to a mother, I find It truly shameful that our society that prides itself in the spirit of Ubuntu and mutual respect finds itself is a position where women and children are afraid to move and live freely in this same society. We must be bold and encourage the women and children who suffer under this plight to not suffer in silence but feel courageous to point out these perpetrators and bring them to justice. As men, we must point out and report our friends and family members who inflict violence on women and children. We support this campaign to make these criminals feel uncomfortable in our society as we strive for a society free of violence and fear.”

On 16 September 2019, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the government would reallocate R1.1 billion to fight GBV in the country, following that two days later by calling for a “five-point emergency plan” to address GBV in South Africa.

Barnard says along with asking for the changes SVAI is calling for, the aim is to make every perpetrator feel as uncomfortable and scared as their victims, when they meet up with the #ITSNOTOK movement.

“We need to stand together and show the world that any form of Gender Based Violence, Violence Against Women and Femicide – #ITSNOTOK,” she says. “We call on the concerned citizen and activist in you – if you have a voice and a platform, please use it to support the #ITSNOTOK movement.”

Please contact tiekie@iafrica.com if you need any further information on the #ITSNOTOK movement.