Johannesburg, 29 June, 2020 / 9:50 pm (ACI Africa).
The leadership of the Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) has, in an interview with ACI Africa, shared what Church leaders in the region are doing to fight gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) in South Africa, which has spiked in recent times.
In the Monday, June 29 interview, the Coordinator of JPC, Fr. Stan Muyebe told ACI Africa that Catholic Church leaders in the country are participating in the ongoing justice system reforms in response “to the prevailing culture of impunity around rape cases and femicide.”
“There is a sense that people are not afraid to kill women or rape women because there are no visible consequences. This is attributed to the low levels of conviction in rape cases and femicide, as well as soft sentences for perpetrators,” Fr. Stan said and added, “Women are also reluctant to report rape cases because of the way the justice system handles such cases.”
The Commission has partnered with the United Nations in conducting research with judges and staff members of recently-established sexual offences courts aimed at identifying the constraints and barriers to the effectiveness of these legal entities, Fr. Stan said.
“When the research is finalized in August and September, we shall use the research to organize a platform for dialogue between the government and the court officials,” the Dominican Cleric told ACI Africa and explained, “The dialogue will seek to identify the measures that need to be taken to address the limited effectiveness of the sexual offence courts.”