City Parks says no to abuse of women and children
JohannesburgCity Parks & Zoo (JCPZ) on Thursday December 1 reaffirmed its stand against the abuse of women and children when it led a march in support of the 16 Days of Activism of No Violence Against Women and Children campaign.
The march, which started at the Pieter Roos Park in Parktown and wound up at the Johannesburg Zoo, saw hundreds of JCPZ employees pledge to break the silence against gender-based violence.
JCPZ was supported in the march by the City of Johannesburg’s departments of Community Safety, and Health and Social Development as well as People Opposed to Women Abuse (POWA), Sonke Gender Justice Network and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
The annual event, which starts on the International Day of Women on November 25 and runs until International Human Rights Day on December 10, is aimed at raising awareness of the scourge of violence against women and children.
JCPZ’s Noeleen Mattera said the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children was a declaration of unity against the abuse of two of the most vulnerable groups in society.
“As City Parks, we want to highlight our determination to ensure that our parks and other facilities are safe to create enjoyable outdoor experiences to all Joburg citizens and tourists.
“It also forms part of our ‘My Park, My City’ project, which encourages active citizen engagement and puts Joburg communities at the centre of JCPZ’s business,” said Mattera.
She said everyone was affected by gender-based violence, adding that turning a blind eye to it was not going to make it disappear. Mattera said JCPZ further wanted to use the campaign to encourage employees to take ownership of their health and safety.
“We want to encourage employees to speak out and show that they care for those who find themselves in violent situations. We’ve to show we care by taking a stand and reporting cases of violence,” said Mattera.
Health and Social Development’s Jabu Phakwe called on fathers to create a happy environment for their sons so they could grow up knowing that real men do not raise their hands against their family members.
He said the reason corporal punishment was abolished was because it was violent. “Let’s not keep quiet when someone is being abused,” Phakwe said.
Lulama Nare of the Gender Equity Commission said: “If you have been beaten up or raped then you need to understand that your body is a crime scene and washing it means you are cleaning away crucial evidence needed to put the perpetrator away,” said Nare.
The formal event was followed by a candle-lighting ceremony and a moment of silence in remembrance of those who lost their lives to HIV-AIDS.
City Parks also pledged to support and care for employees living with the virus and create awareness by providing employees with the necessary information.