Future Kings notes with despondency and concern reports that Gauteng police have opened 1 426 cases linked to gender-based violence (GBV) and domestic abuse since Level 5 lockdown was implemented.
Although unverified, Future Kings is also deeply concerned about a story that has gone viral on social media about a 17-year-old boy who reportedly impregnated his 15-year-old sibling. Whether or not this is true, the possibility leaves a chill on the spine.
While the country is focusing on social/physical distancing, washing hands, wearing masks and staying at home, it was always inevitable that we could, inadvertently, ignore unintended consequences of the lockdown.
Unfortunately the lockdown regulations, which we support unequivocally, present opportunities for predators to target women and children, knowing that their victims’ movement is restricted.
This is illuminated by the revelation by the police that since the inception of Level 4 of the lockdown, the numbers of GBV incidents “have gone down and there have been fewer cases reported”.
Even more troubling is the possibility, according to other experts, that cases of crimes against women and children were not being prioritised by police officers due to competing demands at police stations.
Future Kings understands that the police are currently stretched implementing and monitoring adherence to the lockdown regulations, but we believe that GBV and other crimes should not be relegated to the dustbin of unimportant.
Long after the lockdown is gone, society will have to deal with the long-term effects of the violence and injustices visited upon women and children that happened in this period.
We also call on all of society to be vigilant and raise alarm quickly should they suspect any cases of GBV. We all have a responsibility to make sure that women and children are not victimised twice by the lockdown.
Attribute quotes to Rams Mabote, Chief Volunteer Officer at Future Kings
For media queries, contact: Rams Mabote on firstname.lastname@example.org
Image: ISS AFRICA