As Women’s Month came to an end on Friday August 31, the St John’s organisation, under the wing of the Department of Health and in conjunction with various other groups, held an informative health awareness event in Nyanga.
Women were described as strong and yet gentle people who have kept many homes together as words of wisdom and encouragement echoed throughout the event.
Representatives of Gugulethu police station, Red Cross Society, Hlumani project, provincial Department of Health, Community Service and Social Intervention, Khetha Impilo and Community Policing Forum were among the many organisations that gathered at Terminus Road in Nyanga for the event.
The health department’s project supervisor for community-based services in the Klipfontein district, and St John’s representative Thobani Lindi, said the core focus of the event was to bring health services to the community and also empower women with crucial information on how to overcome domestic abuse.
Mr Lindi said they wanted to empower women, noting that women who had been abused often lost their self-esteem and believed they were unable to improve their lives.
But, he said, they wanted to change that. At the event, Pap smears, HIV testing and tests for other chronic diseases were conducted.
Mr Lindi said he believed such programmes played a crucial role in bringing back the dignity of women and said this platform also enabled them to share their life experiences.
He added that women were the backbone of many families and it was the duty of society to protect them. “No one has more rights than other others. We are all equal. The duty of men is to protect women and be their protectors, not their killers,” he said.
Station commander of Browns Farm satellite police station, Captain Heidi Abrahams, said, as police officers, their role was to ensure that they were not victmised and that there were dedicated police officers who dealt with cases of domestic violence.
She added that women who suffered abuse should seek help rather than remaining in a toxic relationship.
Nyanga resident Nomsindiso Ngomana said as young women they should stand up against domestic violence and make their voices heard.
The 25-year-old said she had learnt that they should not tolerate abuse. “We always say that if he does not beat, he does not love you. That should change. We are strong and confident women. We should not depend on men,” she said.
Staff nurse at Khetha Impilo NGO, Luleka Tshoba, said their main focus was to urge people to live a healthy lifestyle and practise safe sex.