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African business network calls for end of gender-based violence

Shared Value Africa Initiative puts its weight behind the #ITSNOTOK movement

JOHANNESBURG, 30 JULY 2020 – Shared Value Africa Initiative (SVAI), Africa’s largest network of purpose-led businesses, has added its voice to the stand against gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) and has put its weight behind the #ITSNOTOK movement, a movement to raise awareness of GBVF and to campaign for its eradication.

The organisation has also called on faith-based organisations to use Sunday 9 August 2020 as a day of prayer for the victims of GBVF.

SVAI’s support for the #ITSNOTOK movement is in line with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call against GBV on 22 June 2020 at an online dialogue organised by the ANC and its alliance partners. This followed President Ramaphosa’s September 2019 announcement that it would reallocate R1.1 billion to fight GBV in the country, calling for an emergency plan to address GBV in South Africa.

SVAI CEO Tiekie Barnard says now is the time to act. “In South Africa (SA), GBVF has spiralled during COVID-19, yet we continue with our lives regardless. In SA and across the continent, 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.

“JCDecaux South Africa 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.”

“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.

Barnard says the aim of the campaign is to make every perpetrator feel as uncomfortable and scared as their victims, when they meet up with the #ITSNOTOK movement.

Barnard says that while many businesses launch elaborate Women’s Month activities every August, it is commonplace that gender-based discrimination remains prevalent in the workplace.

“In the private sector, business leaders need to root out gender-based discrimination occurring within companies. This could start with the areas that women raised during their 13 September 2019 protest at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange: the gender pay gap, glass ceilings and the limited corporate support for fighting GBV in society,” she says.

A company’s employee base is one of its greatest assets, highest costs and the focus of a significant amount of management and board attention. Within that discussion, says SVAI, should come a major interest in rooting out GBV in the workplace and broader society, if only to improve workplace productivity and a better environment in which to grow the business.

“Violence against women is a mark of shame on our societies. How many more women have to die before we really see change? We need to make every single perpetrator feel as uncomfortable and as scared as their victims when they meet up with the #ITSNOTOK movement. We need to stand together in support of advocating that any form of GBV or Femicide #ITSNOTOK.”

Organisations, communities and individuals wishing to support the campaign can:

  • Solicit community and corporate support

Join our movement and mobilise your networks and communities to support #ITSNOTOK. Pledge your support on our website and try to mobilise as many people in your network as possible.

  • 1 August: Women’s Month and onward

Support #ITSNOTOK by helping us to change the language used about GBVF from 1 August 2020. Instead of saying one in three women will experience GBVF in her lifetime, we say one in three men in their lifetimes will abuse their partner. Don’t laugh at sexist jokes – point out that the joke could be about your sister, your r daughter, your wife or your partner. We need to break the stereotypes.

  • 9 August: National Prayer Day

Help us to lobby all faith-based organisations to declare 9 August a National Prayer day for GBVF survivors. Speak to your church, Pastor, Rabbi, Priest, Imam and the leaders in your community. Together we can unite and make this a prayer day.

  • 16 August: Community Chain Messaging

On Sunday 16 August at 10am, please send out a message via your social media in support of #ITSNOTOK. Messages can be downloaded from our website. Please ask ten of your friends to do the same and ask them to ask ten of theirs. Through our networks we can together mobilise thousands of South Africans to help #ITSNOTOK to mainstream GBVF awareness.

To pledge your support, please go to our website at http://itsnotok.africa/

The Shared Value Africa Initiative

The Shared Value Africa Initiative (SVAI) is the pan-African partner of the global shared value initiative. Operated by Shift, a shared value consultancy, advocacy and training firm based in Johannesburg, the SVAI’s purpose is to build a shared value business network to accelerate sustainable change in Africa. Its mission is to shift Africa from being the poorest continent to the most economically viable. It focuses on establishing and growing partnerships among various stakeholder groups, including regional and national corporations, governments, non-profit organisations, and multilateral and bilateral development agencies and foundations.

Further information on the SVAI and shared value is available at www.SVAI.africa.