For immediate release:

25 November 2018

#HearMeToo: Uniting to Protect Women on the Move

“Women and girls represent a significant proportion  of people on the move world wide” – IOM world migration report 2018. The risks and vulnerabilities  of women and girls on the move are shaped to a great extent by their gender. Violence does not have nationality attached to it. All women face violence in South Africa and across the world Since 1981, November 25th is recognised annually as the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women. Through resolution 54/134 passed in 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November as a day to bring public awareness and collaborative intervention into eliminating violence against women and girls. This resolution,  has provided global impetus for the eradication of gender based violence.


In commemorating this year’s day, the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA)  joins  the rest of the world in uniting and calling for an end to the plight violence against Women. The theme for this year is OrangeTheWorld:#HearMeToo.  CoRMSA urges people in South Africa to unite with others around the world in wearing orange symbolizing a brighter future free from violence against women and girls. The 25thNovember marks the start of 16 days of activism leading up to Human Rights Day – December 10. Violence against women and girls has received both international (#MeTooMovement) and local attention  with the #MenAreTrash and #TotalShutdown in Pretoria earlier this year. These campaigns bring further attention to the violence which is often silenced and stigmatized and provides space for women to discuss their experiences of violence. However with no substantial intervention the scourge of gender-base violence continues in South Africa and across the world.


On this day CoRMSA brings attention to the need to end violence directed to asylum seekers, refugees,  migrants  and all the local South African women. Women in migration are particularly vulnerable and the victim to both gender based and xenophobic violence that occurs in their everday lives. It is critical and important for the authorities and communities at large to realise that women in migration’s experience of violence as intersectional and multi-layered, each individual being victimized on the basis of nationality, race, gender, class and ethnicity. In addition to this, many migrant women experience further victimization and discrimination as a result of their documentation status in their host countries, exposing them to further secondary victimization and exploitation. Women in migration are particularly vulnerable in their transit to seek protection or a better life and flee from persecution. They endure many forms of human rights abuses, both emotional and physical let alone sexual abuse. Reported incidences often include rape, deportation, xenophobia and discrimination. Because of their documentations status in host countries, women in migration face further silencing as they will often not report incidences of abuse or violence as they fear experiencing further discrimination and stigmatization from police or authorities.


Women have campaigned, women have lobbied, women have advocated, women have fought, women have cried, women have been silenced. It is time for women to be heard. CoRMSA on this day is calling on the South African Government through  President Cyril Ramaphosa to act earnestly and effectively to respond to the scourge of gender based violence in the country. The South African Police Services to be trained, equipped and sensitized to responding and protecting women against gender based violence. CoRMSA requests that the Department of Women act timeously to formulate appropriate and contextual policies to ensure that women can fully experience their right to ‘live free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources’ as laid out in the Bill of Rights of the South African Constitution.

For further information please contact: Ms. Abigail Dawson- Communications and Media Officer- CoRMSA. 0748515683/0114037560


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