Speech notes: 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children

This is an extract of a speech delivered by Celeste Barker, MPL in Molteno on 25 November 2014. The Democratic Alliance Women’s Network (DAWN) launched a rape awareness DVD.


Today, 25 November is the international day of “No Violence against Women”. This campaign closes on 10 December – Human Rights Day.

It is therefore no coincidence that Eastern Cape DAWN (Democratic Alliance Women’s Network) stands united in the fight to secure women’s rights as Human rights today and every other day of every other year until the women of our province are truly free, equal and safe.

DAWN has a constitutional and moral duty to speak out and break the silence and shame of all forms of violence against women.

This year we choose to do so with information because, as Carl Jung so accurately observed, “Knowledge is Power” and South Africa is the global rape capital of the world. This means that 1 in every 3 women in this hall have been or will be raped and that a woman is raped at least every 6 minutes in this country.

It is also a fact that those who suffer the most are rural black women – they make up 65% of our provincial population and are the most marginalised and neglected group in the Eastern Cape.

Our DVD aims to equip Eastern Cape DAWN members to support and protect the rights of rape survivors and battered women.

Practical, physical, medical and legal tips are provided in the DVD with information on how to lay a charge, what to expect at a Police Station, which medicine to request to prevent unwanted pregnancy and rights to legal abortion and HIV testing at provincial hospitals.

Details of what to expect at court, in a medical examination and the emotional and psychological aftermath of rape are described with suggestions of how to prevent rape.

We undertake to train our DAWN Provincial EXCO to empower and support rape survivors and battered women.

As a provincial collective of outraged women, we support Andy Kawa, Rape Crisis and FAMSA and repeat, kwanele nyani!  Enough is enough!  Genoeg is genoeg!

DAWN calls on our provincial government and all its departments to lead by example.

We will never accept “Sex for Jobs!” Not under any circumstances!

DAWN believes the time has come for radical action!

We demand that rape is escalated to a crime of the same status as paedophilia in South Africa!

Let’s have a national database of murderous, maiming rapists and protect our babies, girls and all women of this province from being treated like cattle or pieces of meat!

Such commodification is no different from that which kidnaps and sells women and girls as we’ve seen with Boko Haram in the present and Saartjie Baartman’s total degradation to a living exhibition of Sexual difference and otherness as an African woman in the past.

If the ANC-led government of this province and all its departments honestly commit to women’s rights and constitutional democracy then they should release the findings of all Commissions of Enquiry into “Sex for Jobs” during this most appropriate opportunity for healing, redress and reconciliation.

Eastern Cape DAWN calls for total transparency and public access to information in all “Sex for Jobs” scandals now – during the 2014 “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence”.

If not forthcoming, then all the sweet talk, the food parcels, quick repairs to roads and houses are empty promises blowing in the wind.

Eastern Cape DAWN demands a register of murderous rapists and open publication of all Commissions of Enquiry Findings into “Sex for Jobs”.

Name and shame the men who rape, murder and mutilate our babies, girl children, mothers and grannies!

Break the silence because women’s rights are human rights!