The Women and Media Collective held a press conference last week to address the incidence of violence against women with regard to the ‘grease devil’ phenomenon. The Collective also stressed that it wanted a ‘clear dialogue’ on the matter in order to militate against sensational reportage as well as further trivialisation of the issue.
The main points expressed by the Collective were the following:
- The State has an obligation to ensure the protection of women, to set about establishing impartial investigations and strengthen law enforcement, particularly with respect to the ability of the police to maintain law and order.
- “If women are insecure, it is also an indictment on the community and our society at large. We want law enforcement to work closely with communities and strengthen mechanisms that would ensure safety of communities”.
- It is necessary to avoid the “policing of women in the guise of dealing with this issue”, particularly to prevent restriction or confinement. This is important in order to recognise that women have responsibilities and assume an important role in their respective families and communities.
- Comprehensive investigations are required to prevent the repetition of incidents.
- The need to build confidence within our communities and for elected representatives to engage with their constituencies.
- The media has a responsibility to avoid sensational reportage and reduce levels of hysteria.
- The need for communities to work with law enforcement agencies in a manner that strengthens community trust.