This Human Rights Day, Soul City Institute is calling for an integrated response when addressing the violation of girls and young women’s rights

Today we commemorate Human Rights Day to remind South Africans of the sacrifices that accompanied the struggle for the attainment of democracy in South Africa. However, today, South Africa is facing another struggle and we need to unite and address the violation of girls' and young women’s rights.

Sexual violence against girls and young women continues to be the norm in South Africa. In August 2021, it was reported that “934 girls aged 10–14 years old in Gauteng gave birth between April 2020 and March 2021. In March 2022, the Eastern Cape reported well over 10,000 girls, some as young as 10 years of age, having given birth between the months of July and December 2021.

Again, we, as the Soul City Institute for Social Justice, are not shocked as we have previously raised this as a crisis that requires immediate attention and action.

We demand an immediate integrated response from various government departments, including the Department of Health, the Department of Basic Education, the Department of Social Development, the Department of Justice and others. This response and actions should happen at the national, provincial, district, and community levels.

The health and social challenges early pregnancy brings for girls and young women are well documented. The girls are likely to drop out of school and are condemned to a life of poverty. They are also vulnerable to HIV infections and gender-based violence.

We would like to urge the government through this integrated approach to place a bigger emphasis on proven interventions on the ground that work, such as:

  • Boys' mentoring programmes that are aimed at deconstructing the socialization of boys that associates masculinity with violence against women and girls.
  • Comprehensive Sexuality Education is a programme that builds an understanding of concepts, content, values, and attitudes around sexuality and sexual behaviour as well as leading a safe and healthy lifestyle.
  • The Soul Buddyz clubs in schools are a programme that creates an environment for ongoing learning with peer support and helps mobilise children and build agency to tackle issues affecting them in their schools and communities.

For media interviews, contact:
Phinah Kodisang, CEO of the Soul City Institute for Social Justice, 011 771 7900

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