Here’s What #TheTotalShutdown Movement Is Demanding

This placard emphasised how no womxn is safe from being a victim of gender-based violence

August 1 marked the day thousands of womxn and gender nonconforming people marched throughout South Africa and neighbouring countries. The march was an intersectional movement against gender-based violence against womxn. (GBVAW) In Pretoria, the steering committee waited until the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa came to meet them and accept their detailed memorandum of demands. This is the list they handed over to the President.

The organisers handed over a comprehensive list of demands. Below is a summary of the demands along with the deadlines that were given to government.

Pretoria Shutdown As Women And GNC People March Against GBV

In the memorandum, 24 demands are listed. “It’s an initial set of twenty four demands that represent each year that the state has failed to ensure our constitutionally entrenched right to be free from all forms of violence since the establishment of our constitutional democracy,” the document says.

List of demands:

09 August 2018
A strong message from the office of the President that gender based violence against womxn, GBVAW, is pervasive and widespread and that it cannot be tolerated at any level of society. A commitment to establish and drive a multi-stakeholder and comprehensive process to address and reduce GBVAW and a commitment to announce the dates of a national gender summit before 30 August 2018.

30 September 2018
A review of past national action plans to end GBVAW with a view to understanding why they failed. The terms of reference must include the participation of all relevant stakeholders. The process must identify the individual and institutional causes of the failure and make recommendations.

30 September 2018
The development of a criteria and screening for appointing individuals who are tasked with leading efforts to end and respond to GBVAW. It must recognise that efforts to end GBVAW must be led by womxn and communities disproportionately affected by gender discrimination which includes transgender and gender non-conforming persons.

30 October 2018
A development of a National Action Plan on Gender Based Violence (GBV) whose terms of reference will be determined by the review process envisaged under demand number two. The plan must be gender diversity as it relates to transgender and gender non-conforming persons.

30 October 2018
Resuscitation of the Joint Monitoring Committee on the Quality of Life and Status of Women. The committee must develop a legislative schedule to assess the implementation of current legislation aimed at combating GBVAW with a view to determining the role played by gaps in the law in the failure to implement the law.

25 November 2018
The establishment of accountability and oversight mechanisms to ensure that an adopted National Action Plan is implemented. This includes the establishment of an independent Ombud on GBVAW and a special parliamentary oversight committee amongst others.

30 November 2018
Focusing on the prevention of re-victimisation and re-traumatisation through the establishment of a national and properly resourced hotline that will enable survivors to request and receive information on support services. Parliament needs to pass the Combatting and Prevention of Hate Crimes Bill to recognise and afford greater legal protections to transgender and gender non-conforming people.

25 November 2018
Provision of prevention services and information on GBVAW with a view to raising awareness on the different forms of GBVAW, preventing violence and changing attitudes.

30 November 2018
Training for legislators to provide them with information on key features of drafting legislation on developing laws aimed at combating GBVAW and promoting gender diversity and equality.

30 November 2018
Consistent sentencing and enforcement of existing laws in particular, the minimum sentencing legislation in sexual and domestic violence cases. Demand that sentencing guidelines be developed for both magistrates and High Courts including sexual offences courts.

16 December 2018
The prioritisation of the provision of legal aid to victims of GBVAW including those who want to hold the state accountable for its failure to protect them from violence and those who have been subjected to lawsuits for publicly naming perpetrators.

31 January 2019
Sensitisation and adequate training provided and sensitisation of resource providers regarding diverse gender identities and LGBTQIA_ minorities on discrimination broadly and the causes and consequences of GBVAW.

14 February 2019
The provision of psycho-social support to victims and survivors of GBVAW including a publication of a referral list of the places where the service will be provided. Competent NGOs and CBOs should be provided financial support to offer the service, if the state can’t do it.

27 February 2019
A commitment to beginning a process to develop a comprehensive law on addressing GBVAW. The law must include the provision of services, a clear legal and policy framework for protection and support services for victims and survivors of violence.

01 February 2019
Recognition that intersecting forms of oppression heightens women’s vulnerability to GBVAW and that these factors are taken into account during investigation, prosecution and sentencing.

21 March 2019
The existing Thuthuzela Care Centres’ resources developed and vacant posts filled. The TCC’s established as places of safety and care for all gender identities being it cisgender womxn, transgender womxn and/or gender non-conforming persons who are survivors of GBV.

31 March 2019
Introduction of an automated national registry for protection orders.

27 April 2019
Provision of shelters and interim housing to enable womxn to escape abusive relationships. A list of shelters to be developed and confidentially shared with relevant service providers. Government should review its current laws and policies to secure gender inclusivity that seeks to protect transgender and GNC people from GBV and hate crimes.

01 May 2019
Registration of GBVAW cases in hospitals and the provision of information on support services available to survivors of GBVAW and ensuring that an effective referral mechanism between various service providers is in place.

16 June 2019
Publication of a monthly list of police stations and police officers who have been reported to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate for failing to provide services to survivors of GBVAW.

30 July 2019
Adoption of a policy to make prosecutor led investigations of GBVAW cases compulsory in order to provide guidance and assist in the gathering of evidence in order to ensure that cases are taken to court.

30 August 2019
Publication of a national training schedule on GBVAW and gender diversity for all relevant government departments including home affairs, social development, justice, safety and security and health.

A sustained media campaign for 365 days by all departments led by Government Communication and Information System providing information including awareness

Transgender and GNC people also have different safety and security needs than that of cisgender womxn based on how laws, policies, practices and systems are conceptualised based on gender binaries for cisgender womxn and men as well as boys and girls. In combating GBV comprehensively, government should ensure that laws, policies, practices and systems are sensitive to gender diversity to protect the bodily and physical as well as the psychological and emotional integrity of transgender and GNC people from GBV.

Featured image by Fatima Moosa