Ethembeni Care Centre – Addressing GBV and other Violence against Women and Children

Mam Abigail Mbongwa the director and founder of Ethembeni Care Centre, one of the OJA beneficiaries together with their treasurer Mr Zondo with OJA Director, Sayinile Zungu , Siyanda Mkhulisi from OJA and Eric Apelgren, OJA Chairperson

Mam Abigail Mbongwa, the director and founder of Ethembeni Care Centre, one of the OJA beneficiaries together with their treasurer Mr Zondo paid a visit to our Operation Jumpstart Association (OJA) Office in Glenwood in to discuss the non-profit company assisting them to increase their capacity to accommodate more vulnerable women at their facility.

Ethembeni Care Centre, located at eMangangeni in KwaNdengezi Township came into being in 2003. When t community of KwaNdengezi realized the need for a rehabilitation facility owing to the high rate of domestic violence in their community.

Focus of Ethembeni Care Centre

The focus of Ethembeni Care Centre is on women, vulnerable children and other related abuse targeted on these groups. They also want to address the lack of information and knowledge of relevant institutions to assist the women with social problems.

Left to Right: Mr Zondo, Treasurer of Ethembeni Care Centre, with Eric Aplegren, Chair of the OJA Board, OJA Director, Ms Sayinile Zungu , Siyanda Mkhulisi from OJA Mam Abigail Mbongwa the director and founder of Ethembeni and Siyanda Mkhulisi from OJA.

High Rate of Gender Based Violence

Sadly, KwaZulu-Natal has high rates of gender-based violence (GBV) and domestic violence. Factors contributing to this issue include a combination of socio-economic inequality, cultural norms that may condone or perpetuate violence against women, and a lack of effective law enforcement and support systems.

Gender Based Violence Statistics

Releasing second-quarter crime statistics for 2023/2024, Police Minister Bheki Cele reported that South Africa recorded 10,516 rapes, 1,514 cases of attempted murder, and 14,401 assaults against female victims in July, August, and September.

According to Gender Links 36.1% women have experienced GBV while 40.5% men have perpetrated GBV in their lifetime in KwaZulu Natal Province. The most common form of violence is intimate partner violence. Intimate partner violence and rape are hugely underreported both to police and to health care facilities

Only one in five women (3.9%) who were physical abused by intimate partners in their lifetime sought medical attention after injuries. An even lower proportion of women reported the incidents to the police. Only one in ten (2.0%) of physically abused women have reported to police.

One in every seven (0.7%) women that were raped by non-partners in their lifetime reported to the police. A lesser proportion of women sought medical attention. One in eight women (0.6%) sought medical attention after non-partner rape.

Accessing Support Services

For women experiencing violence in KwaZulu-Natal, accessing support services such as shelters, counselling, legal aid, and medical assistance can be crucial but often difficult due to various barriers, including stigma, fear of reprisal, and lack of resources. Additionally, reporting violence to authorities can be daunting, as some women may fear retaliation or believe that the justice system will not adequately address their concerns.

Range of Services

Community-based organizations and NGOs play a vital role in providing support and advocacy for women facing violence in KwaZulu-Natal. Organizations like Ethembeni Care Centre offer a range of services, from emergency shelter to access to legal assistance and empowerment programs.

Efforts to address violence against women in KwaZulu-Natal require a multi-faceted approach that involves not only law enforcement and judicial measures but also broader societal changes aimed at challenging gender norms and promoting gender equality. This includes education and awareness campaigns, economic empowerment initiatives for women, and strengthening support services for survivors of violence.