UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

 

LEGISLATIVE INTERVENTION NEEDED FOR BATTERED WOMEN

STATEMENT ISSUED ANNELIZÉ VAN WYK, MP
UDM CAUCUS LIAISON OFFICER

The recent application for clemency to the President by battered women, who were sentenced for the murder of their husbands, highlights their desperate plight. The United Democratic Movement re-affirms its core values of  dignity, human worth of every individual, integrity, and national moral regeneration. In doing so, the UDM wishes to align itself with the plight of all battered women in South Africa. The UDM thus calls upon the government to urgently attend to this matter, which has for too long been put on the backburner of moot discussions.

The South African Criminal Justice System has been often criticised as being inadequate in dealing with the specific circumstances of domestic violence and the battered woman syndrome. The conventional route of self-defence in South African law requires an immediate response by the defendant. In most criminal cases against battered woman this is not the case. They cannot react immediately to the abuse by the person who is ultimately responsible for the mental destruction of the battered woman and that of their family. Statistically it has been proven that women are getting proportionally much harsher sentences for the murder of their spouses than their male counterparts. Though the Domestic Violence Act addresses some of these concerns the patriarchal nature of our society still leaves much of the repression of gender issues intact.

The UDM calls on the Minister of Justice and the President to urgently focus on this issue, which affects the lives of millions of South African women and children. Their plight must be urgently and directly addressed if we are to become a world-class nation.

Enquiries:
Ms. Annelizé van Wyk, MP
UDM Caucus Liaison Officer
082 557 4184

Cape Town
25 April 2001