UTRECHT – ELDERLY women have been discouraged from sweeping under the carpet cases of domestic violence committed by relatives, lest the perpetrators of such crimes returned to haunt them.
The call has been made in the Emadlangeni Local Municipality of the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Province, during the launch of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children.
Power utility, Eskom, launched the campaign in KZN, viewed as one of the hotspots of violence in the country.
Speaking at Utrecht, community leaders, police and the judiciary, said while the elderly were mostly the victims of violence, they were complicit by shielding abusive relatives.
Cllr Ntsikelelo Ndlovu, the Emadlangeni Deputy Mayor, dissuaded the women from such.
“They should not hide these crimes in the wardrobe or under the bed but ensure perpetrators are prosecuted,” Clr Ndlovu said.
Police also pointed out grandmothers were complicit in crimes such as rape, especially if these were committed within the family.
“The elderly women usually cover up such crimes. They don’t usually report them but opt for internal resolutions. Let us not resolve such cases as rape at community or family level but report to the police. Grandmothers must not fear approaching us, the days of apartheid are gone, we are now a service not a force,” said Constable Bheki Dube, the regional South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson.
It was pointed out that most perpetrators of crime against the elderly women were the same culprits that committed gender violence against the
Themba Motha, prosecutor at the Utrecht Magistrates Court, thus urged the women to report.
“Abuse is abuse regardless of the source. The elderly must report whether the culprit is a neighbour or a relative,” Motha said.
Meanwhile, Eskom Development Foundation launched the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children to create awareness about the ongoing fight against, amongst others, violence on women, the plight of child-headed families and the importance of medical screening.
With many in the community of Emadlangeni having little or no access to healthcare facilities, one mobile health clinic (Bophelong mobile) was made available to cater specifically for basic medical checks and needs of the elderly women from the area.
Zethembe Khoza, Eskom interim Board Chairman, highlighted the fact that many communities the company operate in struggled to access the healthcare system.
“We saw it fitting to create the Bophelong mobile health programme. Through it we are able to reach far-flung communities, and give them access to facilities they might otherwise be unable to reach,” Khoza said.
– CAJ News