Statement in Solidarity with Women on International Women’s Day
The National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL) stands in solidarity with women globally on this International Women’s Day. It is a time for reflecting on the courage and achievements of women since 1911. A time in history when the working women of the world began to organize themselves in the fight for their universal suffrage. The questions posed to society then were that women were required to participate in the economy but could they participate in government on the same platform as their male counterparts?
Women have through their organization and influence in society been able to promote and lobby for policies for their own equality. However the complete emancipation of women has not yet been realized.
As lawyers who work at grass roots level in our communities, we acknowledge that women in our society face insurmountable social and economic problems including the feminization of poverty. However, the most brutal of all is gender based violence. Women are vulnerable to violence within their homes, communities and workplaces a creation of patriarchal society and the unequal power dynamic between men and women.
Over the past month, South Africans have been witness to the abuse of some of the most iconic women in our society.
We have been witness to the degrading statements made against Winnie Mandela, the mother of our nation, in the National Assembly. These statements questioned her integrity and impugned the dignity of her memory. The statements negated her sacrifices made by a woman who gave her life and even withstood solitary confinement to achieve freedom for the entire nation.
We have witnessed the intimidation and threats, including threats of rape made against journalist and struggle veteran Karima Brown.
In the music industry a video was circulated of the artist Babes Wodumo being assaulted by her partner.
The stories of unnamed women and unknown faces that line up daily at our Domestic Violence courts remain untold. There are also thousands of victims who are unable to access the justice system, at all.
We also raise our concern at recent reports that there are attempts by video game producers to normalize rape through gaming. This is horrifying. Such acts can never be normalized and must never be allowed to be normalized in our society.
Abuse and violence against women permeates our society and is wholly unacceptable. Violence against women must not be tolerated in a society that is striving to achieve egalitarianism.
NADEL makes a clarion call to all progressive formations in particularly activist lawyers to ensure that we create a justice system that is responsive and helpful to women who are victims of abuse.
We call on our political leadership also to take a stand against this violence. Perpetrators of violence against women must be dealt with to the full extent of the law, unapologetically.
NADEL joins the voices of thousands of women across the world in international solidarity for the creation of a world order based on equality – which cannot be achieved without the equality of women.
ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF DEMOCRATIC LAWYERS (NADEL)
By Ugeshnee Naicker
National Deputy Secretary
Office of NADEL National Secretariat
National Association of Democratic Lawyers
08 March 2019