Reiger Park community stands up against women and children abuse

These are some of the residents who took part in the Reiger Park/Ramaphosa march to raise awareness and to mobilise community members to take a stand against children and women abuse in the area.

The aim of the peaceful march on August 4, led by the Reiger Park SAPS and Reiger Park Community Crisis Centre, was to raise awareness and to mobilise community members to take a stand against children and women abuse in the area.

Brandishing placards and shouting slogans against gender-based violence, the group of residents, mostly young women and children, marched from Ramaphosa to Reiger Park Community Crisis Centre.

Brandishing placards and shouting slogans against gender-based violence, these residents were among the people who marched from Ramaphosa to Reiger Park Community Crisis Centre.

Once they reached their destination, the Reiger Park Community Crisis Centre’s Julie Fillis took the podium and raised awareness of how the scourge of substance abuse, violence and other forms of abuse are rife against women and children.

Fillis acknowledge that in the Reiger Park areas, men are also victims of abuse, but based on the reported cases, the centre has found that the vast majority of gender-based violence and domestic violence victims are women and children.

She added the problem is increasing day by day.

“Violence against women and children is on the increase and this has become a matter of great concern to us. Action is needed to curb the spate of violence in our communities.

“We are dealing with issues involving school-going children who were abused, with others molested while they were still very young,” said Fillis.

Const Clifford Mongwe kicks off the event to highlight violent crimes against women and children with a short prayer.

Fillis said it is so disappointing that in some cases they found that parents have decided to keep quiet about such incidents.

She encouraged victims to break their silence and report any form of abuse against them, saying sweeping such issues under the carpet only exacerbated the situation.

“Unreported abuse against children in particular tends to negatively impact their future, including their performance at school,” said Fillis.

She emphasised the need for both men and women to build strong families and raise children who will be good citizens, thereby building a strong, united community.

Maria Carelse, the great-grandmother of the 10-year-old Chrisania Carelse, who was raped and killed in Ramaphosa, joined the march to highlight violent crimes against women and children.

Reiger Park SAPS’ Const Jan Mokwana also called for an end to the violence against women and children. He said as the police, they are working on a plan aimed at rooting out the scourge and isolating the perpetrators, who do not deserve to be part of the communities.

Mokwana said a coalition of NGOs, individuals and government departments, including the police, is also needed to deal with the crisis.

He suggested that events of this nature should be frequently replicated in the township, to allow for a much broader reach.

“I want to send a clear message to the perpetrators that violence against women and children will not be tolerated. Enough is enough!

Reiger Park SAPS’ Const Jan Mokwana spoke frankly about violence inflicted on women and children during the march. He reminded the attendees that gender-based violence and domestic abuse are a violation of rights. He vowed to do everything in his power to protect the most vulnerable members of society. Mokwana is seen with the Reiger Park CPF deputy chairperson deputy chairperson Sam Malgas.

“We must all stand together and say ‘stop the violence against women and children’. As men, we must make our women and children feel protected and loved,” said Mokwana.

In closing, Mokwana reminded residents about their rights with regard to domestic violence and abuse. Mokwana urged them to report all known, suspected or witnessed incidents of domestic, gender-based violence or child abuse.

A number of children have been sexually abused and killed in Reiger Park and Ramaphosa over the last few years.

Fanie Mthupha

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