#16Days16Fails - Raising Awareness of Systemic Failures Day: 5/16

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.


“I have a survivor and she was abused by her ex-boyfriend. Her ex-boyfriend is a foreign national. She went to apply for a protection order and you know, she is victimised by the perpetrator and then when she goes to apply for protection, she receives secondary victimisation by the police. I was shocked. 

She came here and she was crying, saying that [the police] laughed at her and said “What are you doing with a foreign national?”. And then to my astonishment, she said even the court official, somebody who is a high rank, said those words to her, like “What are you doing with a foreign national in the first place. It serves you right”. 

I mean, we are supposed to be protecting them and we are supposed to be fighting for these women and then for them to be victimised by us! I was shocked. 

And it’s not only her. There are a lot of women who are going through the same thing.” As told to Lenina Rassool by Muhlez Cindy Msimang, Shelter Manager and Social Worker at the GRIP Mkhondo Shelter on The Womxn Show. Watch the full episode of The Womxn Show on Protection Orders at https://bit.ly/2VgP4B6


#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

Yes, this is a sad reality, it seems, for a lot of places still. Thanks for sharing, Lenina.

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

Hello, Lenina,

Thank you for providing a space to listen to these women and for lifting their stories here so the world can read. What's wrong with that police? How ignorant is he about love? What right does he have to invalidate a woman's experience? Those in authority need to undergo EMPATHY training.

Keep it up, dear! We stand with you.