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Break the silence of abuse

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

The prevalance of gender-based violence (GBV) crimes are such that everyone should be playing a role in combating them.

Ilitha Labantu is a community organisation dedicated to fighting GBV in the community of Gugulethu in the Western Cape.

“On average, the organisation receives 30 clients per day,” said Ilitha Labantu spokesperson Siyabulela Monakali, explaining that the majority of GBV victims are women and girls.

Monakali said his organisation’s core function is to break the silence of abuse and report incidents immediately.

The organisation holds imbizos, workshops and outreach programmes to spread the word on how to combat GBV.

“We have always encouraged the community to challenge discriminatory norms whereever they manifest themselves; silence is the breeding ground in which violence and abuse are perpetuated and Ilitha Labantu encourages the community to break the silence of abuse,” said Monakali.

He said GBV is a societal issue that affects everyone in communities and everyone should be playing a role in combating this scourge.

Monakali said his organisation has been fighting GBV since 1989 after identifying an increase in attacks on women and children.

He explained that Ilitha Labantu focuses on townships and rural communities.

The root causes of GBV vary but toxic masculinity is often a driving factor.

“Every individual experience violence differently; little children often fall prey to sexual grooming at the hands of a relative or a caregiver. The abuse may continue for some time, unbeknown to the parents, and is often only discovered when the child is older. Many incidents of abuse are violent in nature, particularly when it comes to intimate partner violence where fatalities have been recorded,” he said.

DID YOU KNOW?

Ilitha Labantu offers the following services:

  • Face-to-face counselling
  • Support groups
  • Telephone counselling
  • Legal services
  • The Dorothy Zihlangu

Shelter in Langa which is specifically for battered and abused women and their children.

For more information, call 021 633 2383/ 021 633 3048.

If you need help with a GBV-related issue call 0800 428 428.