A group of women in Dunoon have started an organisation to fight gender violence and child abuse.
The initiative took root when Dunoon Neighbourhood Watch member Cynthia Ludziya posted a call to action on Facebook. More than 200 women have since joined a WhatsApp group she started. They support each other and share their stories.
“We hear a lot of stories of women being beaten up by their partners,” Ms Ludziya said. “One woman was robbed and raped while on her way to work one morning. This doesn’t sit well with us at all. People report these cases to the police, but they don’t seem to go far, and the story just fades away. We hold marches to try to create awareness for these issues in our community.”
Dunoon Women Against Gender-Based Violence (Dunoon WAGBV) was officially formed in July last year and held its first march on Mandela Day.
Members of the group can be found at the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court when a suspect from their area appears on charges relating to the rape or abuse of women and children.
“When people report to us or we hear about something that happened to a woman or child, we follow through with the case from social workers, police all the way to court. We went to a few court appearances last year where men from our community were charged with sexual assault and domestic violence. We don’t discriminate as well. We often get men who come to us saying that they are being abused by their partners, and we take that just as seriously,” Ms Ludziya said.
Dunoon resident Nophelo Msomi said the organisation was doing good work in the community. “It’s often very difficult for people in the community to get assistance from police. The police stations are far, so people often sit and think if it’s even worth them going to report. But having this organisation and this wonderful group of ladies makes things much easier,” she said.
Ms Ludziya said the community – along with the local taxi association, the ward councillor and the Milnerton police – had been very supportive.
In November, Dunoon WAGBV learned about a missing 11-year-old girl. They mobilised the community and the girl was found within a few hours.
“Although we aren’t registered yet, this year we hope to focus more on the organisation and put in structures to get us to where we need to be,” Ms Ludziya said. “We still face a number of issues here because the violence against women still happens on a daily basis. There’s lots that we still have to do. Luckily we have the support of the community.”
To learn more about the organisation, call Ms Ludziya at 071 188 9912, Yamkela Mbulana at 060 381 7838 or Vuvu Mukumela at 073 172 6451.