The Gender-based Violence and Femicide Response Fund 1 (GBVF) has launched their new flagship campaign, RESPECT, aimed at raising awareness and catalysing action against GBVF. The aim of RESPECT is to align South Africans behind a culture in which everybody is valued and respected equally.
The GBVF response fund 1 was launched in 2021 following the Presidential Summit on GBVF to lead the implementation of the National Strategic Plan on GBVF until the Council for GBVF is established.
“The RESPECT Framework, which underpins this campaign, is a globally recognised approach aligned to shifting societal or organisational culture and norms towards mutual respect and support,” says Sazini Mojapelo, CEO of GBVF Response Fund1. “We should recognise that changing the culture and narrative of GBVF in the country should be a priority and although difficult to achieve but it can be done if we all get behind it—and the role of the media will be critical. We also believe that our South African ethos of Ubuntu‘’I am because you are’’, which links our existence with the existence of others, fits in well with what the campaign aims to achieve.”
Mojapelo says that the RESPECT campaign aims to raise awareness and builds a compelling case for change by motivating all South Africans to play their part in preventing GBVF. It will also provide tools and resources to drive change, and ultimately demonstrate new behaviours in action. The media will play a key role in making the campaign a success, she adds.
The RESPECT Framework is founded on the following principles:
Recognising the problem, and acknowledging that GBVF exists in various forms, including physical, sexual, emotional, and economic abuse, and that it occurs in homes, workplaces, institutions, and public spaces. Recognition includes confronting the problem head on, shining light into the places people would rather keep private.
Empowering the voices of survivors and marginalized communities is essential in the fight against GBVF. Survivors need to be supported in telling their stories and seeking justice and healing.
Shifting social norms that perpetuate inequality and discrimination. A key element here is educating, ourselves and others about the harmful effects of toxic masculinity, gender stereotypes, and misogyny, and working to promote healthy relationships in all spheres.
Prevention, which is the key to ending GBVF. This involves supporting evidence-based prevention programmes and working to break the cycle of violence by addressing its root causes.
Engaging everyone because we will only end GBVF through a massive collective effort and through engaging men and boys as allies. Building an effective response to GBVF will require collaboration across all sectors of society.
Creating support systems to help survivors heal and rebuild their lives. Key elements here are accessible and survivor-centred services, including counselling, legal support, healthcare, and housing.
Taking action. To eliminate GBVF, we need to move beyond words to rally support for holding perpetrators accountable through the justice system, and working to reform it where necessary, as well as supporting policies and initiatives that prioritize the safety and well-being of all individuals, regardless of gender.
The RESPECT campaign is aligned with Pillars 1 and 2 of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) for GBVF: Accountability Coordination and Leadership; and Prevention and Rebuilding Social Cohesion, respectively. It also aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 17: Gender Equality and Partnerships for the Goals.
South Africa grapples with alarmingly high rates of GBV, affecting approximately 20%-30% of South African women in various forms. Additionally, the country ranks among the top five globally for femicide cases. These statistics underscore the urgent need for change. Furthermore, the economic impact of GBVF is substantial, with KPMG estimating it to be between R28.4 billion and R42.4 billion annually, accounting for 0.9%-1.3% of the gross domestic product.
“GBVF exacts an unacceptably high cost at both personal and societal levels, hindering our society from realizing its full potential. We rely on the media and our corporate sponsors to amplify the RESPECT message throughout society as we embark on this journey to create positive change.
“This is a battle we must win, standing united in solidarity and equality.”