Funding Desperately Needed for Women’s Shelters
In South Africa, but also worldwide, Gender Based Violence (GBV) or Violence against women is an everyday, no, an every hour, occurrence. This has a huge influence on the everyday lives of people throughout the country. Much of the behaviour has deep roots stemming from traditions and cultures in today’s society, that have for some, become a normal part of life. Where can these women go when the abuse gets too much? Women’s shelters play an important role in protecting the rights of all women, for aid and protection. The major problem countywide would be the funding desperately needed for these women’s’ shelters.
Some of the reasons for Gender-Based Violence
The reasons for Gender-Based Violence come from many different angles. There are individual, social, relationship and community factors that all play a role. Even though through the years there has been more awareness of the issue, it still remains one of the worst human right violations in the world.
South Africa is no exception, there have been efforts from government, such as the National Council on Gender-Based Violence. This council was formed in 2012 in order to come up with a strategic plan to combat gender-based violence. Ever since then, the organisation has not had any effect due to lack of funding and other political issues. In 2017, there was another call for the formation of a National Strategic Plan to help bring Gender Violence to an end. But has there been any improvement?
It has been found that the funding from the Department for Social Development, is vastly different around the country. Most of the funding towards the facilities and those who work there are very low. The major problem seems to be that there doesn’t seem to be proper communication between all parties involved, which is needed to come up with a workable and successful plan. There are even departments, like Labour trade and Industry that should be brought into the loop. These play an important role when involved in educating, training and providing employment for abused women.
“No women has to be a victim of physical abuse. Women have to feel like they are not alone.” Salma Hayek
Impact of Gender-Based Violence
The impact of Gender-Based Violence doesn’t end with one generation, if nothing is done to stop it, it will carry on into the next generation and the next etc. Whole families and communities are affected. The abuse can lead to drug abuse or another long-term physical and mental problems. This could lead to unemployment and even homelessness.
What are the benefits a women’s shelter can provide?
This is where shelters come into play, helping abused women by protecting them and getting them back on their feet. Many women who are being abused feel they have nowhere to turn, their only way out is a shelter. But these have to be accessible and be able to provide for the needs of these women. Many shelters not only offer refuge for women, but also for their children. The shelter, therefore, needs to be able to provide food and other resources.
Providing this type of service to the community takes dedication on behalf of the staff as well as much needed funding. Some shelters get a percentage of funding from the government, but a lot of the funding also comes from donations. But in order to provide much more than just a temporary safe place, shelters need more funding.
Available services should include:
- Counselling services
- Food and clothing
- Temporary housing
- Skills Development and training
- Court and legal assistance
In order to effectively tackle the issue of gender violence, it has to be approached from many different angles. Commitment has to be shown from the government, civil society and from the very citizens of the country. All must come together in order to expose the issue as well as to develop an effective plan, which will strengthen the response towards the issue. The ideal plan would then be to eradicate gender-based violence within our society.
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Acknowledgement: This blog post is based on the two articles below.