#16Days16Fails - Raising Awareness of Systemic Failures Day: 4/16

Lenina Rassool
Posted November 29, 2020 from South Africa

#16Days16Fails is a collection of stories by women from around the country who have accessed systems designed to deal with GBV and experienced systemic failures and secondary victimization. We'll be posting a story a day for the next 16 days to shine the spotlight and raise awareness on systemic failures to adequately assist victims of violence.


“My maintenance journey started in 2006. I got a court order for maintenance to be paid. This was the easy part. By 2007 the defendant had defaulted and here’s where the trouble started.  

In total from 2007 - 2020, I have lost close on 260 days of work. A FULL YEAR OF INCOME! I have had to educate maintenance officers and prosecutors on the Maintenance Act. I have had to tolerate being told I am greedy, will never see a cent, etc. 

I am now on the third criminal case against the defendant, of which the state has again failed to obtain all evidence. The courts (Wynberg, Pretoria, Atlantis, Cape Town) have all failed to uphold the Maintenance Act. I have to get court managers, circuit managers and the National Prosecuting Authority involved to get answers.

There is no will from the courts to prosecute as per the act. The defendant can arrive at any time for court, it is accepted. No documents from the defendant, even after many requests from maintenance officers and magistrates, yet no consequences. Children's rights have been forgotten and violated. Financial abuse is the silent abuse that needs to be exposed.” - ANONYMOUS


#16Days16Fails is an initiative by Lenina Rassool and Felicity Guest to shine the spotlight on systemic failures in cases of violence against women and children. All the stories are real experiences by women who have interacted with systems designed to address issues of GBV and child protection.  #16daysofactivism #justice #GBV #EndViolenceAgainstWomen #EndViolenceAgainstChildren

This story was submitted in response to Sharing Solutions: Ending GBV.

Comments 2

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Jill Langhus
Nov 30, 2020
Nov 30, 2020

Hi Lenina,

Wow! I hope she is able to get justice on this soon. Thanks for sharing.

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Dec 03, 2020
Dec 03, 2020

Hello, Lenina,

What determination she has! What a system fail it is, too, that a woman would lose a full year of work's income in order to access her rights. Adding insult to injury (pun?) is those demeaning words she receives.

I am rooting for her to get the justice she deserves. Please update us!

Keep it up, Lenina and Felicity! We stand with you!