A TV Show to tackle Gender Based Violence

Lenina Rassool
Posted January 16, 2020 from South Africa
REAL OR FAKE?

The graph above is from the South African Department of Justice 2018/2019 annual report. Viewed in isolation, it looks like we're making positive headway in prosecuting sexual offences. But look closer and the cracks start showing.

  1. The fake news winner here is the actual graph. This visual is misleading on so many levels that even a math / data novice like me knew something was off. I could speak about the fact that there is no (vertical) y-axis – this would be the numbers or data points on the left-hand side. The most astonishing and obvious issue, however, is that the graph is slanted to make the numbers look like more than it is. 
  2. The percentages are presented without actual figures. Here again, it seems like convictions – and by inference prosecutions – are increasing. In reality, the number of convictions at 74.4% - and by inference the number of prosecutions, are actually lower than the previous five years.

This is what the actual statistics for sexual offences really tell us:

  • The 74.4% conviction rate for sexual offences presented by the Department of Justice is equivalent to 4724 convictions out of 6353 cases that made it to court.
  • When cross referenced against sexual offences reported to police in 2018/2019, we see that only 6353 prosecutions out of 52 420 sexual offences reported to the police made it to trial. This means that out of overall sexual offences reported in 2018/2019, only 12% went to trial and 9% ended in conviction.
  • The other 47 696 cases remained unresolved for victims, and perpetrators set free. 

WHAT’S IN A FAKE?

There has been a global emphasis on tackling fake news over the past few years. The media itself is in crisis trying to clear up misinformation faster than it can be shared, but it seems like a losing battle. People are too slow to check – if they do – and too quick to share.

As a journalist, I’ve followed this trend, learned the tools, shared the truth, but have noted that the ‘fake news’ movement has been concentrated on politics, corruption and climate change. There are no eyes on gender issues, even though it is one area where misinformation has flourished for centuries – legally – for the majority of time. And I aim to tackle this.

HOW I RESIST: CIVIC ENGAGEMENT FOR GBV

My resistance too the form of a television show. I planned, pitched and launched The Womxn Show that takes a citizen-centered view of Gender Based Violence. The concept takes the focus off of direct offenders and turns the lens to our justice and social systems, along with systemic issues – like rape trials and conviction rates. The show looks at legislation and protection systems and, most of all, hopes to drive better transparency and accountability. I want women to know what their rights are and how to enforce them.

South Africa is often lauded as having some of the most progressive human rights legislation for women, and yet, it is worth nothing if women don’t know it exists. Women’s rights are human rights and as such, we need to find a way to increase citizen engagement and activism in the same way we do in other areas.

Click here to watch The Womxn Show on Youtube.

Image Credit: 2018/2019 Annual Report - Depart of Justice, South Africa

Lenina Rassool

Producer: The Womxn Show

Cape Town, South Africa

This story was submitted in response to Why I Resist.

Comments 39

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Anita Shrestha
Jan 16
Jan 16

Dear Sis
You are doing great. Be continue without loosing hope. We are with you dear

Lenina Rassool
Jan 16
Jan 16

Dear Anita,
Thank you so very much. The biggest challenge is retaining hope in the face of the atrocities, but it is also necessary.
Thank you for your support.

Anita Shrestha
Jan 16
Jan 16

WC

Hello, sis Lenina,

Wow, you are so brave to launched a TV show that focuses on Gender-Based Violence! Congratulations, dear sister! Thank you for sharing your Youtube channel, I have already subscribed to it so I can watch your episodes when I have some free time.

Keep up the great work, dear sister! You rock!

Lenina Rassool
Jan 16
Jan 16

Thank you dear Karen, for your comment and for subscribing. I firmly believe that knowledge is power and -from a civic engagement perspective - women's equal status is still very new. Thus, many women, girls and children do not know their rights. This is imperative for us to effect change.
All the best in your work too.
X Lenina

Lisbeth
Jan 17
Jan 17

Dear you are very brave indeed. Hope the perpetrators will not worry you as they always do :-(.
My very best wishes and keep us posted as per the outcomes.
Have a great weekends.
Regards

Lenina Rassool
Jan 17
Jan 17

Dear Lisbeth,
Thank you. I will keep updating. So far so good, but am hoping that some of my stories in 2020 will disrupt the system.
Kind regards.
Lenina

Lisbeth
Jan 17
Jan 17

Haha that is call change not disruption :-). We are behind you 24/7
Take care of yourself
Hugs

Lenina Rassool
Jan 17
Jan 17

Yes!! Although, the patriarchy will view this as extreme disruption. ;-)
Thank you and your side as well.
x

lizzymark
Jan 17
Jan 17

Hi Lenin's,you are really brave,I love your courage. With what you are doing it will make the justice department to really sit up and also keep the people aware. Thanks for what you do keep on sis.

Lenina Rassool
Jan 17
Jan 17

Dear Lizzy, thank you so much. That is the point - our systems are outdated and still extremely against women. We need to change this. We will change this :-)
Thank you for your support. x

lizzymark
Jan 17
Jan 17

A pleasure dear

Jill Langhus
Jan 17
Jan 17

Hi Lenina,

How are you? Wow! Yeah, that graph is super misleading. I'm glad that you've created the Womxn Show and that you're tackling GBV, too. I've subscribed to your channel, too. I'm looking forward to hearing more about what you focus on your show and articles in the future.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Lenina Rassool
Jan 17
Jan 17

Hi Jill, I'm good thanks. Hope you are too! Thanks so much for the support, I appreciate it. And thanks for connecting!
Have a lovely weekend too

Jill Langhus
Jan 17
Jan 17

Hello there:-)

Great to hear! Yes, I'm good, thanks.

You're very welcome:-)

Thank you!

XX

Mauwa Brigitte
Jan 20
Jan 20

Hi LENINA RASSOOL!
Thank you, you will no longer have to teach on Resolutions 1325 and 1820 on the National Council of the United States, on all forms of gender-based violence.

Lenina Rassool
Jan 20
Jan 20

Dear Mauwa Brigitte,
Thank you for the comment and references - I had not looked at these before. These resolutions are definitely worth exploring. I thank you.

Tarke Edith
Jan 20
Jan 20

Wao Lenina
You are really brave dear
Thanks for the knowledge keep up sis

Lenina Rassool
Jan 20
Jan 20

Thank you very much for your comment and support Tarke Edith. It is much appreciated. Knowledge is power and together we are stronger. Keep up the great work on your side.

MADELEINE BWENGE
Jan 22
Jan 22

Avec tous nos encouragements ma chère Lenine. Le plus souvent, les droits des femmes qui au demeurant font partie prenante des Droits Humains, ne sont nullement appliquées de la même manière pour l'homme et la femme. Unissons nos voix pour les faire appliquer.

Madeleine

Lenina Rassool
Feb 19
Feb 19

Dear Madeleine,
You are 100% correct. Thank you for the support and encouragement and most especially for your voice and activism that helps to bring us together and fight for our rights. United we shall achieve all that we set out to.

Dear Sister Lenina,

Wonderful show, I will definitely look at the other episodes. The data you have shared. The sexual assault conviction rate in my country of Trinidad and Tobago is 2%. https://newsday.co.tt/2018/06/02/2-sex-convictions-shocking/

Keep advocating and using your voice and your platform for active change

Regards
Sherna Alexander Benjamin
Together we can create, for a better world is possible.

Lenina Rassool
Feb 21
Feb 21

Dearest Sherna,
My heart bleeds for you and the women and children in your country. I say that we need to hold the justice system accountable the same way we do the grocer who tries to overcharge or cheat us!
I wish and pray for a better protection system for your country and all countries so we can begin to stem the surge of gender based violence and especially rape.
Thank you for being a voice. Sending strength, this is not easy work or content to deal with.
xxx

Obisakin Busayo
Jan 26
Jan 26

Dear Sister,
Thank you taken your work to fight Gender Based Violence to another level in South Africa. We really appreciate these updates
Love
Busayo

Lenina Rassool
Feb 21
Feb 21

Thank you so much Obisakin. And yes, we need to up our game now, as the statistics of GBV increase. Mostly I want to close the gap between all the academic studies - with useful info - and the public. We need to know about the data and solutions that are out there. Media needs to take more responsibility about educating about GBV and lobby for change.
Thank you for your support. x

TataWirba
Jan 30
Jan 30

Hi Lenina.
This is very inspiring. Good luck in all your endeavours.
Love and blessings
Tata

Lenina Rassool
Feb 21
Feb 21

Dear Tata,
Thank you so much. It always warms my heart to see men support advocacy on GBV as it is an issue that affects us all.
We appreciate your support.
x

Stephtalks
Feb 07
Feb 07

Thank you for sharing. The figures are applaudable. More courage and success in this fight.

Lenina Rassool
Feb 21
Feb 21

Thank you Steph. We need all the courage - and especially success - we can find. x

LYDIEN YUNIWOH
Feb 08
Feb 08

Dearest Lenina,
congratulations. You are really brave to fight Gender Based Violence. That is a good call for change. Keep the lamp burning, the sky is your starting point.

Lenina Rassool
Feb 21
Feb 21

Dear Lydien,
Thank you so much for your comment and support. It is a hard and difficult fight and issue to engage with, but we must keep going if we are going to end violence.
Your support is much appreciated. Hope all is well with you. x

Kristine Yakhama
Feb 08
Feb 08

In Kenya majority of cases are not complete perpetrators compromising with lump sum of money those victim becomes abuser

Lenina Rassool
Feb 21
Feb 21

Dear Kristine, I am so sorry to hear that, We see this too in South Africa and it is part of the cycle of abuse. This is why it so important to hold government and institutional stakeholders accountable. Hopefully we will make headway in this and start reducing the stats of GBV.

Myra Tambor
Feb 09
Feb 09

Wonderful! I'll check your you tube channel. Thank you for sharing. :-)

Lenina Rassool
Feb 21
Feb 21

Oh thank you so much Myra. That means a lot. I hope you find some useful information in there. Please do let me know what you think if you get around to it. :-)

ARREY- ECHI
Feb 11
Feb 11

Hello Lenina,
Well done for taking the plunge to shine the lenses on where it truly matters. It is a truism that laws and legislations are worth nothing if those they target know nothing of their existence.
You are a courageous sister. Keep it going.

Lenina Rassool
Feb 21
Feb 21

Dear Arrey, that is a quote straight to my heart! I even stopped doing journalism for a while because I felt it wasn't making enough impact, we were not reporting beyond the murders and rapes - to how people can protect themselves and know what their rights are.
Thank you for your support and comforting words. I really appreciate it.

KATEMIRI
Feb 16
Feb 16

Dear sister, you are doing a great job, greater Grace to you to keep doing more

Lenina Rassool
Feb 21
Feb 21

Dear Katemiri,
Thank you so much! Your comment and support is much appreciated. x