The Saartjie Baartman Centre, together with their partner organisations, Gender Dynamix, Unani Tibb Medical Centre, Network on Violence Against Women, Anex and Nicdam, celebrated Women’s Month by hosting an Open Day for members of the community. Since opening their doors in 1999, more than 100 000 women and children, trans-gender people, human trafficking survivors and refugees, have been assisted by the Centre.
“The need for our services is growing, we have seen a 65% year-on-year increase in people requiring assistance from the Centre over the past few years. Domestic violence is far too pervasive in South Africa, sadly only 3% of perpetrators are actually convicted,” Director of the Centre Shaheema McLeod said.
Situated on the Cape Flats, an area with one of the highest crime rates in Cape Town, the Centre offers services such as crisis response, counselling, job skills training and legal advice to women and children who have become victims of abuse. Their onsite emergency shelter houses an average of 100 women and children at a time.
According to a United Nations Report, one in three women are beaten, coerced into sex or abused by an intimate partner in the course of her lifetime. “The reality is that the figures on the ground are much higher than that,” McLeod says. “While we celebrate Women’s Month and the numerous milestones that have been made in relation to women and empowerment, we cannot ignore that our women and children are being abused every single day. Violence is deeply entrenched in South Africa, we need to begin with changing learned behaviour.”
The Open Day aims to create awareness around the various services available at the Centre. “So often, women who find themselves in an abusive relationship don’t know where to turn. By opening our doors to the community we’ll be doing our bit for Women’s Month – even if we reach just one person in need of safety, we’ll have made a difference to her life and that in our minds, is what counts the most.”
Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications:
Beverley Houston / firstname.lastname@example.org / 021 447 1082 / 082 824 8617
On behalf of the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children:
Director: Shaheema McLeod