“The recent violation and murder of 19-year-old University of Cape Town student, Uyinene Mrwetyana, and the spate of other violent acts perpetrated against women and children that have been reported in the media, have united millions of people in our country against gender based violence that has shockingly, and unacceptably, become all too commonplace in our country,” says Dr Richard Friedland, chief executive officer of the Netcare Group.
Gender based violence not only deprives those individuals who have been directly targeted either of their life, or leaves them deeply traumatised and often severely injured – sometimes for life – but the devastating impact thereof reaches much further; to their families, workplaces and society at large. The very women who are under siege in our country are our mothers, wives, partners, sisters, daughters and colleagues.
“Apart from many other cases reported this week, and very close to home for the Netcare family, a young pharmacy assistant learnership candidate who worked at one of our hospitals in Johannesburg, was robbed and murdered last week.
“Violations against women and children are a tragic reflection on our society and the lack of moral fibre that seems to have infected it. This can never be condoned,” he asserts.
“We at the Netcare Group therefore commend President Cyril Ramaphosa for speaking out yesterday and taking a decisive stance regarding violence against women, children and other vulnerable groups.”
“The women of our country have always played a fundamental role in their families, in society and in the economy. They deserve our utmost respect and support. Children – our future – should be nurtured and treasured instead of being subjected to violence and having to live in fear.”
“We therefore welcome and fully support the initiatives announced by President Ramaphosa to address the scourge of violence. We trust that the government will act swiftly on these initiatives.
Dr Friedland says Netcare is committed to the ongoing empowerment and support of women in South Africa through various initiatives. “We have, for example, been providing care and holistic support to survivors of sexual assault and rape, irrespective of their ability to pay, since 1998 when the Albertina Sisulu Centre opened at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital.”
“Since then, the number of Netcare sexual assault centres that are integrated into Netcare emergency departments countrywide has grown to 37, and we have assisted no less than 13 450 individuals over the last 21 years. It is deeply disturbing to note that as many as 40% of those individuals who have come to us for assistance were younger than 18,” says Dr Friedland.
“Survivors of sexual assault or rape, whether they are adults or children, have been violated in a deeply personal way, and care should be taken to ensure that the way they are treated when reaching out for assistance does not add to their trauma.”
“Many other organisations also provide much-needed assistance to survivors of sexual assault, including - government healthcare facilities as well as non-governmental organisations operating in communities. We salute them for the important work they do, often in difficult circumstances.”
“As a company, we have a zero tolerance approach to any form of discrimination. The Netcare Group identifies fully with the President’s firm stand against the xenophobic violence that has again sadly raised its ugly head in South Africa, and supports his call for dialogue to resolve any issues instead of reverting to acts of destructive violence and shameful criminality,” added Dr Friedland.
“It is my most fervent wish that in time to come we will be able to live in a society where all the people in South Africa will be safe to live their lives in freedom and without fear,” concludes Dr Friedland.
Issued by: MNA on behalf of Netcare
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