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Domestic violence victims, stuck at home, are at risk during coronavirus pandemic

By Scottie Andrew, CNN

Updated 1840 GMT (0240 HKT) March 27, 2020

Victims of domestic violence are cut off from resources while they stay shut in during the coronavirus pandemic. Advocates are struggling to find new ways to help them.

Victims of domestic violence are cut off from resources while they stay shut in during the coronavirus pandemic. Advocates are struggling to find new ways to help them.

A list of resources for domestic violence victims follows this article.

(CNN)Home is the safest place to be while a pandemic rages outside. Health officials have said as much for weeks now.

But for some, home is not a haven from violence and abuse.

Self-isolation forces victims of domestic violence and their children into uncomfortable and dangerous circumstances: Riding out the Covid-19 crisis, shut in with their abusers.

    Domestic violence: Get help and be a part of the change

    Domestic violence: Get help and be a part of the change

    Life during the coronavirus outbreak has sapped victims' outlets for relief: Running errands, speaking with counselors, visiting friends.

    The pandemic has shattered exit plans that some victims have spent months developing.

    And the deluge of stress and fear -- of unemployment, of sickness, of death -- is only intensifying the abuse they face.

    The services designed to support even the most isolated of these victims are struggling to help from a distance.

    "It is the perfect storm for someone who wants to isolate or hurt their partners," said Val Kalei Kanuha, assistant dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the University of Washington's School of Social Work.

    Abuse survivors are familiar with the rules of social isolation already. Now, the pandemic is doing the work for abusers.

    Domestic violence will likely increase in social isolation

    The frequency and severity of domestic abuse will likely increase while Americans stay home for weeks or months during the pandemic, said Katie Ray-Jones, president and CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, a service that connects victims of domestic violence with local resources.

    Ray-Jones said the hotline saw an uptick in reports of partner abuse during the 2008 recession as unemployment surged. But then, victims weren't told to shut themselves in with their abusers.

    Anxious about the pandemic? Here's how you can get help without leaving home

    Anxious about the pandemic? Here's how you can get help without leaving home

    The calls National Hotline staff have received since the start of state shutdowns are startling, Ray-Jones said: One woman said when she tried to go to work at an essential business, her abusive partner began to load his firearm to scare her into staying. Another said that her partner threatened to expose her to the virus on purpose and swore he wouldn't pay for treatment if she fell ill.

    Communities under stay-at-home orders are already reporting higher call volumes to local domestic violence resources.

    In New York's Nassau County, east of New York City, domestic violence incidents are already up 10% compared to this time last year, Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder told CNN affiliate WLNY. And Cincinnati-based organization Women Helping Women is receiving 30% more calls now since self-isolation started, CNN affiliate WCPO reported.

    Stress heightens the likelihood for violence

    Domestic violence cases spike in times of prolonged stress and disruption, like financial crises and natural disasters.

    But most Americans have never lived through anything quite like the Covid-19 pandemic, said Margaret Bassett, director of the Expert Witness Program at the University of Texas at Austin's Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault.

    "This is a really stressful time," Bassett said. "And the more stress that a family experiences, there's a greater risk for escalation on the part of a person who's abusive."

    Some of that stress has driven people to firearms dealers and liquor stores.

    Gun sales surge as coronavirus pandemic spreads

    Gun sales surge as coronavirus pandemic spreads

    Gun sales are surging nationwide, as they did after 9/11 and the stock market crash of 1987. It's a symptom of uncertain times, industry analyst Rob Southwick told CNN last week. When people are afraid of the unknown, they'll buy a gun -- even if their enemy is a virus.

    Abusers often use firearms to frighten victims, whether or not they use them, Ray-Jones said. But even an abuser's possession of a firearm makes it five times more likely that a domestic violence victim will be killed, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

    A record 3.28 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits this week -- and unemployment is strongly tied to alcohol use disorder. A 2013 study reported that as unemployment rates rise, so do dangerous drinking behaviors. And the World Health Organization said evidence suggests that excessive alcohol consumption worsens the severity and frequency of domestic violence.

    Coronavirus throws a wrench in victims' plans

    Abusers find ways to isolate victims without "shelter in place" mandates. But during any other time victims could still access resources like counselors and shelters.

    It's not so simple for survivors to up and leave their abuser either, and especially now, when access to hospitals and shelters is limited, Kanuha said.

    Self-isolation, quarantine and stay-at-home: What the terms mean and how they differ

    Self-isolation, quarantine and stay-at-home: What the terms mean and how they differ

    "This particular situation with Covid-19 is so unusual because it really challenges all of us to think out of the 'just leave' box," she said. "You can't tell somebody to leave because there's no place to go."

    Sexual assault victims may be hesitant to go to a hospital to receive a rape kit, with hospitals operating at full capacity and physicians pleading with the public to avoid burdening the health care system.

    And typically advocates and counselors are on hand for support throughout the rape kit process. That isn't possible anymore, said Laura Pelumbo, communications director at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

    Many courts are closed, too, so requests for restraining orders are indefinitely delayed.

    Some victims plan their exit strategies for months. They secretly save money and make arrangements to move with their counselors' help. But the pandemic will almost certainly interrupt those plans by draining those funds, Ray-Jones said.

    Child abuse is more prevalent

    The children of abuse victims know where to go to get away from the violence: School, an after-school activity, a friend's house. Anywhere but home.

    Now that they've got nowhere to go, children's risk of abuse is heightened, said Jeffrey Edleson, professor and dean emeritus at the University of California-Berkeley's School of Social Welfare.

    "Many of the options that battered women and their children use as safety valves to get away from violence are no longer available," he told CNN.

    The social ties they rely on for relief are severed. Teachers, coaches and allies outside the home who may have reported the abuse aren't with them every day. Parents may go so far as to cut off their access to electronics, which most American students now use to complete schoolwork, he said.

    "A lot of young adults I've spoken with who've been exposed to violence at home often find close friends, friends' parents, relatives and teachers who are supportive of them," he said. "It helps buffer the impact of what's going on at home. But all of that is missing."

    Coronavirus-related child abuse has already been reported. In Fort Worth, Texas, a children's hospital said last week they treated six severe child abuse cases in the span of a week. Hospital staff said they typically see as many patients over a month, CNN affiliate KTVT reported.

    Sometimes it's the silence that's concerning. The Oregonian reported that calls to Oregon's state child abuse hotline have dropped by more than half, from 700 daily to 300 since the day the state's schools closed. Child welfare advocates worry it's because they're not in classrooms, where teachers can report abuse on their behalf.

    Even in families where conflict has never escalated to violence, children are now at a higher risk of physical abuse because of additional stressors like unemployment, Edleson said.

    "That conflict can be pushed to a physical level," he said. "And especially closed in small quarters."

    How services are adjusting

    Local, regional and national coalitions are still operating as essential organizations under several states' stay-at-home orders, but the way they deliver their services has changed.

    In most cases, it's no longer possible for victims to meet with case workers, and many women's shelters have stopped accepting new clients to protect their current residents, Ray-Jones said.

    Why you should learn Mental Health First Aid

    Why you should learn Mental Health First Aid

    Many victims are relying on hotlines to report their abuse and find help -- but only those who are still able to safely contact them.

    And once the stay-at-home orders are lifted, Ray-Jones said she expects victims to flood hotlines. They may not know how many victims there are until the coronavirus pandemic is over.

    "People with abusive partners don't reach out for help until the holidays are over," Ray-Jones said. "We think there's going to be a huge surge, potentially, once quarantines are lifted and people are returning to work."

    So social workers are preparing now, transitioning to remote work where they can and getting resources -- numbers to call, mental health services available -- in the hands of victims.

    But there are still victims that advocates can't reach.

    That's where all of us come in, Kanuha said.

    The pandemic is forcing us to reimagine what community looks like

    The pandemic is forcing us to reimagine what community looks like

    For victims who don't have access to websites, the phone or other people, friends, coworkers or neighbors should reach out to them and advocate on their behalf. Print out resources. Call a hotline if you fear for their safety. If you work together, seek them out under the guise of a work matter and ask how they're doing. Listen rather than responding right away, Kanuha said.

    "Just let people share and talk and ask for what they need, and then you can figure out if you can help them," she said. "The best place to start is just to listen."

    There's no blanket approach to help all victims of abuse. Their identities, whether they're a child or adult, identify as LGBTQ+, are differently abled or an undocumented immigrant, change the help they need and are able to get, Kanuha said.

    Covid-19 is another variable in their lives now. But it's one abuse victims share with nearly everyone.

    Resources for victims of domestic violence

    National Domestic Violence Hotline Call 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522

    Available 24/7. Can connect callers with local resources and immediate support. Also available through online chat tool.

    National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673

    Provided by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). Available 24/7. Also available through online chat tool.

    Crisis Text Line Text HOME to 741741

    Available 24/7 for victims of abuse and any other type of crisis.

    Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-422-4453

    Available 24/7 in 170 different languages.

    Office on Women's Health Helpline 1-800-994-9662

      A resource provided by the US Department of Health & Human Services.

      Find a list of resources organized by state here, provided by the Department of Health & Human Services' Office on Women's Health.

      WHO releases guidelines to help countries maintain essential health services during the COVID-19 pandemic

      The COVID-19 pandemic is straining health systems worldwide. The rapidly increasing demand on health facilities and health care workers threatens to leave some health systems overstretched and unable to operate effectively.

      Previous outbreaks have demonstrated that when health systems are overwhelmed, mortality from vaccine-preventable and other treatable conditions can also increase dramatically. During the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, the increased number of deaths caused by measles, malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis attributable to health system failures exceeded deaths from Ebola [1,2]

      “The best defense against any outbreak is a strong health system,” stressed WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “COVID-19 is revealing how fragile many of the world’s health systems and services are, forcing countries to make difficult choices on how to best meet the needs of their people.”

      To help countries navigate through these challenges, the World Health Organization (WHO) has updated operational planning guidelines in balancing the demands of responding directly to COVID-19 while maintaining essential health service delivery, and mitigating the risk of system collapse. This includes a set of targeted immediate actions that countries should consider at national, regional, and local level to reorganize and maintain access to high-quality essential health services for all.

      Countries should identify essential services that will be prioritized in their efforts to maintain continuity of service delivery and make strategic shifts to ensure that increasingly limited resources provide maximum benefit for the population. They also need to comply with the highest standard in precautions, especially in hygiene practices, and the provision of adequate supplies including personal protective equipment This requires robust planning and coordinated actions between governments and health facilities and their managers.

      Some examples of essential services include: routine vaccination; reproductive health services including care during pregnancy and childbirth; care of young infants and older adults; management of mental health conditions as well as noncommunicable diseases and infectious diseases like HIV, malaria and TB; critical inpatient therapies; management of emergency health conditions; auxiliary services like basic diagnostic imaging, laboratory services, and blood bank services, among others.

      Well-organized and prepared health systems can continue to provide equitable access to essential service delivery throughout an emergency, limiting direct mortality and avoiding increased indirect mortality.   

      The guidelines stress the importance of keeping up-to-date information. This requires frequent transparent communications with the public, and strong community engagements so the public   can maintain trust in the system to safely meet their essential needs and to control infection risk in health facilities. This will help ensure that people continue to seek care when appropriate, and adhere to public health advice.




      On Tuesday night, the woman was abducted outside Tygerberg Hospital and sexually assault.

      FILE: Picture: SAPS.

      FILE: Picture: SAPS.

      Kevin Brandt | about 2 hours ago

      CAPE TOWN - There seems to be no end to the attacks on women. A nursing student has become the latest victim. On Tuesday night, the woman was abducted outside Tygerberg Hospital and sexually assault. The Cape Peninsula University of Technology nursing student has received medical treatment and counselling at Karl Bremer Hospital's Thuthuzela Care centre. The Western Cape Health Department's Nomawethu Sbukwana: "The minister condemns thee horrific attacks on students and she is working together with the SAPS around the circumstances of this attack."The department said that after her attack she was released. Officials said that they had visited the victim and would assist her on the path to healing.



      It's unclear how she was killed.

      Picture: Winnie Theletsane/EWN

      Picture: Winnie Theletsane/EWN

      Kevin Brandt | about an hour ago

      Official statistics prove War on Women is real – and pretty words are mere lip service

      By Marianne Merten• 4 September 2019

       Uyinene Mrwetyana, a UCT student, went missing on 24 August 2019 and a suspect was arrested for her murder and rape on 2 September 2019. Photo: Facebook/Zuki Lamani  Less

       20 Reactions
      • Lawmakers failed to speak up and out beyond the hackneyed and pedestrian against the murder, rape and abuse of young women. Tuesday’s parliamentary debate came as two statutory reports show the depth of violence against women, including police officers investigated for rape.

      • Parliament’s debate in honour of Women’s Day came three weeks late – 9 August marks this day – and missed the point with its “heavy hearts” and “heavy shoulders” over some 90 minutes that unfolded in the wake of a series of killings of young women.
      • Uyinene Mrwetyana, a 19-year-old University of Cape Town student, was raped and killed by a 42-year-old employee at the Clareinch post office where she went to collect a parcel. Details of his confession were heard in court on Monday.
      • Boxing champ Leighandre “Baby Lee” Jegels was killed by her policeman ex-boyfriend against whom she had got a protection order. The SAPS sergeant died in hospital on Monday from injuries sustained when he crashed his car, killing two other people.
      • Also on Monday, the body of 14-year-old Janika Mallo, who had gone missing in Heinz Park on Saturday, was found buried in a backyard. And further details emerged of the killing of 19-year-old Jesse Hess, a University of the Western Cape student and church youth leader, found dead with her grandfather in their Parow flat.
      • What is now being called a national emergency, violence against women, also involved those who are meant to protect women.
      • At least 55 rape complaints against police officers were investigated in the six months between April to September 2018, according to the 2018/19 annual report of the police watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID). This is six more than over the same period in 2017.
      • Of the 55 rapes by police officers, 32 were by off-duty policemen and 23 happened when the policemen were on duty, up by 5%, according to the IPID report.
      • The Eastern Cape recorded the most rapes by police officers: six on duty, doubling from the same period in 2017, and eight rapes by off-duty policemen, up from two. Only the Northern Cape did not record a rape by a police officer.

      • And rapes in police custody are up by one, to six. Yet they should not happen at all as women and men must by SAPS standing orders be in separate holding cells.
      • It’s a dry report produced in line with the statutory requirement that IPID reports to Parliament. MPs must interrogate these statistics as part of their oversight responsibilities.
      • But it sketches a picture of an increasingly brutal SAPS, complaints of torture increasing by 66% to 144 between April and September 2018 compared to 87 the same period the previous year. Assault complaints are also up: 1,919 were recorded this six-month period in 2018, up from 1,754 a year earlier.
      • In the IPID report foreword, Police Minister Bheki Cele wrote that he did “not expect police officers to be accused of criminality as they are at the forefront of the fight against crime” and needed the support of communities.
      • The fight against domestic violence, particularly violence against women and children, is paramount for our communities to feel safe and secure in their homes.”
      • But that’s a minister’s aspirational writings in a report. The statistics are somewhat different.
      • Police recorded 177,620 reported crimes against women in the 2017/18 financial year that ended 31 March 2019, according to the latest available SAPS annual report.
      • These statistics list 36,731 sexual offences, including rape, assault and the murder of 2,930 women, which was up by 11%, from 2,639 murders of women in the 2016/17 financial year.
      • The increase in the number of women murdered bucked the national priority of reducing crime. And whether the murder rate of women has changed more recently remains to be seen when the SAPS publish their 2018/19 annual report, including crime statistics. The statutory deadline is the end of September.
      • The prosecuting services’ 2018/2019 annual report tabled in Parliament reflects the disjunct between violence and crime against women, and these cases’ journey through the criminal justice system.
      • While there is no direct connection because cases may carry on in court beyond a financial year, which is the official time frame for measurement, there are strong correlations. Official statistics show what advocacy groups have argued for aeons – only a tiny number make it to court.
      • Once in court, however, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) seems to be getting the convictions. Of the 66 cases of what the NPA annual report describes as “murder: intimate-partner femicide”, 64 convictions were obtained. There were only two acquittals.
      • Not all of the over 2,639 murders of women in 2017/18 would have been by their partner, but no further details on convictions for murdered women are in the report.
      • Of the 6,341 sexual offences cases, including rape, that were brought to court, 4,716 convictions were obtained, according to the NPA 2017/18 annual report.
      • This represents a conviction rate of 74.4%, the highest in the past five years – a clear indication of the commitment of the prosecutors to act decisively against perpetrators of sexual violence,” says the annual report.
      • That’s steps forward, even if baby steps.
      • But it does mean the Hawks on Tuesday could issue a statement to welcome two life sentences imposed on 43-year Phillips Malope for the trafficking and rape of a 14-year-old girl whom he had lured from her parents’ home in Mozambique.
      • In Parliament, Tuesday’s gender debate in the House’s honouring of Women’s Day took a few turns, as a media briefing afterwards on government action to fight gender-based violence shed little light on concrete action.
      • It did emerge that Social Development was training 8,750 traditional leaders to, among other things, “see the world through the eyes of a girl child”, as Deputy Social Development Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu put it, and work toward establishing a gender-based violence and femicide council is continuing.
      • I do not know how many times we as a nation should have debated and keep debating gender-based violence and femicide,” said Minister for Women, Youth and People with Disabilities Maite Nkoane-Mashabane in opening the debate, seemingly forgetting that her party, the ANC, was in government.
      • I am still reeling in shock at the brutal murder of UyineneA person, who is employed and paid by the state and instead of providing a service with a smile, murders a young and beautiful woman…” said the minister, who after speaking about Jegels’ killing returned to that murder. “Uyinene went to get a service at the post office, but she came out killed… ”
      • Nkoane-Mashabane’s debate contribution had few answers, but many rhetorical questions: Where are the safe spaces? How are we making it her century? What institutions should be put in place to eliminate GBV and femicide?
      • The irony is that her political party, the ANC, is in charge of the government – and in charge of doing something about violence against women.
      • The ANC speakers throughout the debate insisted that government had the answers – from economic empowerment of women and that “women must own the land and must continue to work the land… and also become property developers”, according to the ANC chairperson of the multiparty women’s caucus Nkhensani Bilankulu, dressed in the green, black and gold ANC colours.
      • Opposition parties disagreed.
      • IFP MP Liezl van der Merwe said every year it was the same debate, with action missing in action.
      • Each year we rise to this podium to say the very same things… and we speak about this lawless country of ours as if there’s a sense of normality to it,” she said. “We know NGOs and shelters go unfunded… “We know police do not have rape kits… Will you finally have the courage to govern, the courage to care?”
      • And EFF MP Mmabatho Mokause agreed. “It cannot be business as usual. Here sit men and women who claim to be in government, yet our daughters, our sisters are dying in your hand. What type of government are you leading?”
      • She was heckled, loudly, from the ANC benches. As had other opposition speakers until Speaker Thandi Modise took up African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) MP Marie Sukers complaining this debate was not the time for heckles: “It is not good enough… Our people deserve better than this. When our people are waiting for us to respond, we can heckle.”
      • This debate, Modise said, was not the time for party-politicking, but to unite against gender-based violence and femicide.
      • But shortly after the gender debate, the ANC objected to a motion expressing condolences over the death of Mallo, brought by EFF MP Hlengiwe Mkhalipi. “We have not done enough… The SAPS is wholly incapacitated to deal with violent crime.”
      • The ANC cited a couple of points in the motion in its objection. But in parliamentary practice, an objection is an objection and it cannot be qualified. “The motion is not carried,” was the presiding officer’s verdict.
      • When asked about this at the media briefing where Nkoana-Mashabane was flanked by Justice Minister Ronald Lamola, Justice spokesperson Crispin Phiri ran quick interference, saying the ministers could not answer for decisions of the ANC parliamentary whippery.
      • And neither minister answered. Nkoana-Mashabane maintained she saw “no finger-pointing… This matter of women dying in our houses is apolitical.”
      • But Hansard, or the transcript of the sitting, will now reflect the governing ANC objection to a motion about a victim of gender-based violence by the EFF, a couple of hours after a parliamentary debate in which ANC speakers expressed their anger and sadness about violence against women.
      • No one from the opposition benches objected to the ANC motion on the killing of Mrwetyana. DM


      One voice at the Cape Town protest: “No more, no f**king more!”

      By Anso Thom• 5 September 2019

       Peaceful cop. A policeman holds a poster and flower at the protest march against femicide and Gender Based Violence on 5 September 2019 outside Parliament in Cape Town. Parliament's gate is in the background. Photo: Anso Thom  Less

      5 September 2019. 10am. Parliament, Cape Town. The day a crowd, that swelled to tens of thousands, gathered for one of Cape Town’s largest protests in recent history. A collection of angry, confrontational, “gatvol”, demanding messages on posters and shouted towards the stage and heavens added colour and voice. Men took a quieter backseat as young and old women of all hues gathered for the protest march against femicide and gender-based violence. The brutal murder of University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana, whose body was found at the weekend, has sparked an outpouring of anger and grief, but it has also sparked a “no more, no fucking more” and “enough is enough” outcry. President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the crowd at the end of the protest. The Cape Town protest is one of several that have already taken place with a big gathering planned in Johannesburg next week.


      My body, not your crime scene. There were many rightfully angry messages at the protest march against femicide and Gender-Based Violence on 5 September 2019 outside Parliament in Cape Town. Photo: Anso Thom


      An unidentified woman protestor listens to Cyril Ramaphosa address the protest march against femicide and Gender-Based Violence on 5 September 2019 outside Parliament in Cape Town. Photo: Anso Thom


      Mass protest. Learners and young women at a protest march against femicide and Gender-Based Violence on 5 September 2019 outside Parliament in Cape Town. Photo: Anso Thom


      A protestor in front of the police line at the protest march against femicide and Gender-Based Violence on 5 September 2019 outside Parliament in Cape Town. Photo: Anso Thom


      Message fence. Protestors place their posters and flowers on parliament’s fence at the end of the protest march against femicide and Gender-Based Violence on 5 September 2019 outside Parliament in Cape Town. Photo: Anso Thom


      Justice for Jesse. Protestors placed posters and flowers on Parliament’s fence and gates after the protest march against femicide and Gender-Based Violence on 5 September 2019 in Cape Town. The slain bodies of UWC student Jesse Hess and her grandfather Chris were found in their Parow flat last Friday. Photo: Anso Thom


      Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane attended the protest march against femicide and Gender-Based Violence on 5 September 2019 outside Parliament in Cape Town. Photo: Anso Thom


      Remembering Nene. Tens of thousands participated in the protest march against femicide and Gender-Based Violence on 5 September 2019 outside Parliament in Cape Town. Most brought posters with their own messaging. This poster refers to UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana, whose murder sparked the protest. Photo: Anso Thom


      Lucinda Evans, Executive Director of Philisa Abafazi Bethu Women and Children’s Program in Lavender Hill on the Cape Flat addresses the protest march against femicide and Gender-Based Violence on 5 September 2019 outside Parliament in Cape Town. Photo: Anso Thom


      President Cyril Ramaphosa accepted a memorandum and addressed a sea of people at the protest march against femicide and Gender-Based Violence on 5 September 2019 outside Parliament in Cape Town. Photo: Anso Thom


      Enough is enough. A sea of people at the protest march against femicide and Gender-Based Violence on 5 September 2019 outside Parliament in Cape Town. Photo: Anso Thom


      On Notice. Protestors placed their posters on Parliament’s fence following the protest march against femicide and Gender-Based Violence on 5 September 2019 outside Parliament in Cape Town. Photo: Anso Thom 


      There were protests against gender-based violence in Parliament this week following the murder of several women and children including UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana and boxer Leighandre Jegels.

      FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS.

      FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS.

      • JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday promised swift implementation of measures announced by his government to fight gender-based violence, saying the attacks on women and children had become a crime against humanity.
      • The president addressed the nation on Thursday night following public pressure for his government to announce plans to fight the scourge.
      • There were protests against gender-based violence in Parliament this week following the murder of several women and children including University of Cape Town (UCT) student Uyinene Mrwetyana and boxer Leighandre Jegels.
      • Ramaphosa’s measures to fight the scourge of gender-based violence included overhauling and making public the national register of sex offenders, opposing bail and parole for perpetrators of such crimes, reviewing laws on domestic violence and establishing provincial emergency response teams to deal with crimes against women and children.
      • “We have heard the calls of the women of our country for action and for justice. The collective anger, the pain and the fear that these killings have caused must strengthen our resolve to end all forms of violence and abuse perpetrated by men against women,” he said.
      • The president said there would be a review of gender-based violence cases that were bungled.
      • “All gender-based violence cases that have been closed or that were not properly investigated must be reviewed.”
      • Ramaphosa said the government would use every means from the police service, the justice system, social development to school curriculums to strengthen the national response to gender-based violence.

      WATCH: Ramaphosa announces harsher measures for abusers




      watch: [FULL SPEECH] President Ramaphosa's address on recent violence in SA


      WATCH: SA women took to the streets to protest against gender-based violence


      Message from University of the Western Cape Executive Management: Event for Jesse Hess commemoration and responding to violence against women

      The University of the Western Cape (UWC) condemns the recent spate of fatal attacks, sexual violence and abductions perpetrated against women and young girls. This week the University grieves the loss of one of our own – Jesse Hess. Ms Hess, a first-year Theology student, was murdered on Friday.

      The University management has been in contact with her family and has offered support during this difficult time. She was a beautiful soul who cared dearly for her family and her community. As Executive Management, we call on all students and staff to break away from their usual commitments from 1:30 pm to 2.30 pm tomorrow at the Main Hall, as a gesture of solidarity against the surge of violence against women. This will also serve as a commemorative event for Ms Hess.

      We also urge everyone to wear black this week to highlight activism and mourn the loss of our sisters.

      As a University, we endorse all campaigns on campus and across the country that condemn violence against women. We continue working closer with the South African Police Service and community policing forums in our efforts aimed at ensuring the safety of students.

      While Ms Hess was murdered off campus, students are reminded to be vigilant at all times. We will do everything in our power to ensure the safety of all students. Campus Protection Services (CPS) is on duty 365 days of the year and provides an immediate response to all types of calls for service to emergent situations and critical incidents.


      About the association

      Committed women and men from diverse

      professions: academics, community

      organizers and activists from over 22

      countries who educate, advocate and

      implement programs to improve women’s

      health around the globe.

      Address of association

      Women and Health Together for the Future (WHTF)

      Global Health Education, Training and Service (GHETS)

      8 North Main Street, Suite 404

      A leboro MA 02703 United States



      Dr. Hester Julie

      Executive Director, WHTF


      Dr. Judy Lewis

      Chair, WHTF 


      Micarla Abrahams

      Administrative Staff, WHTF


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