“There has been a culture of silence on Gender Based Violence at all levels, from the policymakers to the victims themselves - this must change.” - Diarietou Gaye.
Gender Based Violence (GBV) reflects and reinforces inequities between men and women and compromises the health, dignity, security and independence of its victims. It encompasses a wide range of human rights violations, including sexual abuse of children, rape, domestic violence, sexual assault and harassment, trafficking of women and girls and several harmful traditional practices. Any one of these abuses can leave deep psychological scars, damage the health of women and girls in general, including their reproductive and sexual health, and in some instances, results in death.
In the fight against GBV in under-developed communities, Foundation for Professional Development (FPD) has launched the GBV - knock on door campaign which gives people the courage to be able to help GBV victims without being scared of putting them in more danger. “The campaign encourages people to knock on the door when they sense some kind of violence just to cause a distraction and walk away; they don’t need to get involved. A distraction could help the victim to escape or call for help and it stops the perpetrator from continuing with the abuse.”
“Research shows that once the perpetrator is distracted in that moment of extreme violence, it is very difficult for him or her to go back and continue where they left off. I believe the campaign can easily be implanted; we need to encourage people in geographical areas, tell them about this programme and ask them to knock on doors”, said Veena Pillay, FPD Academic Executive.
In November 2013 FPD identified a group of community workers from Bayview, Durban as the perfect candidates to offer their Gender Based Violence management course. The aim of the programme is to help the community workers to be able to identify, treat and care for victims of GBV. The community workers are from an agency called Ubuntu Community Development which has been set up to serve the development of Bayview community.
The community workers were so impressed with the outcomes of the programme and here is their feedback: “The course has made a huge impact on us. We used to get cases that we didn’t know how to deal with. But now after going through the course we are able sit a person down and explain exactly GBV is and even explain the signs of the cycle of abuse and take them back to where it all started. The GBV programme is something that should never stop; in fact I think it should become a recognised programme in the country because people are dying daily due to gender based violence and nobody know because they are in silence,” says Brandon from Ubuntu Community Development.
In conclusion, Ubuntu group leader states that, “there are people in communities who are doing well in fighting GBV; those are the people we should be targeting because they really need empowerment to be able to make a difference and FPD is providing the just the tool for development.”