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THE RULE OF LAW

My vision for my life is to use my skills to open the pandora's box of unreported incidents of gender based violence (GBV). I want to expose the enormity of the problem, so that governments will be compelled to create fair, strong, objective laws and judicial systems, and to ensure that they have adequate mechanisms in place to enforce the Rule of Law.

I imagine a world where each country has an accessible, independent and transparent legal system with laws which everyone, including the government, follows, and where every person feels empowered to step in when they witness assault and abuse.

How do we realise this vision in a world where GBV is one of the most chronically under reported crimes, as most cases of domestic violence are not reported to the police?

From a world where one in every four women experiences domestic violence in her lifetime; where 30% to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household; where boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults? (www.ncadv.org/files/DomesticViolenceFactSheet(National).pdf)

How do I fulfil my vision in the here and now, starting in my country, S.Africa, which is dubbed the 'rape capital' of the world; where every 17 seconds a woman is raped and it is estimated that a woman born there has a greater chance of being raped than learning how to read; and where more than a quarter of men admit to raping someone? (http://www.change.org/petitions/south-africa-follow-words-with-action-ag...)

When the Domestic Violence Act was amended in S Africa a few years ago to increase the amount of help available from police and the courts, the government said that there was no money to provide shelters for abused women and children. Our local police station commander who was asked to protect women when they went to collect their belongings from violent partners, said that 'the police don't have the time to act as a taxi service' for women and children.

If things are to change, then the world needs to hear about the 80% of incidents of abuse which do not get reported. We need to collect figures about the When, Where, How and to Whom.

I would like to start collecting such data through mobile phones. S.Africa is a good place to start, for mobile phones are 'in the hands of everyone ….96% of the country's population being covered by mobile telephony', according to mobileactive - and that was in 2006.

My dream can become a reality as a VOF Correspondent. We can compile these figures, we can map them out with the help of applications on Web 2.0 and ensure that they are splashed across the headlines of the world, through portals and into halls of power.

I know that I have a lot to learn, but there are some things I already know. As a lawyer, I know a bit about international law, which is binding upon nations. My longterm vision is that together we can make changes to that law, so that all nations will be forced to uphold the Rule of Law to ensure the extinction of GBV through parliament, the police, political structures of prevention and social structures of protection.

As a VOF Correspondent I shall learn about available United Nations platforms, procedures and campaigns, about treaties and charters, which can be accessed to amplify the voice of the women from the ground up.

And I shall be supported with tracking of trends, which feed into the Database of Violence Against Women, where we shall be encouraged to continue to collect, use, disseminate and analyse data.

I shall be shown how to strengthen the UN Secretary General's “UNiTE to end violence against women” campaign, to find opportunities for exchange of experiences and good practices and influence policy.

And I shall learn how to find the money, through organisations such as the Violence Against Women Trust Fund, and other organisations which support the implementation of existing laws, policies and action plans that address violence against women and girls.

My vision is to be the media correspondent who keeps the spotlight on GBV until it is eradicated from our world.

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Comments

Stella Paul's picture

Way will follow the will

My lovely queenbee, yours will is so strong,it has to open ways. I promise to come to you very, very often, with ideas too, because your dream is one that benefits me too. I have been observing the biggest movement against against domestic violence in India (bell bajao/ring the bell) which has been endorsed none other than Mr Ban Ki Moon. I can and I promise to, share my observations and knowledge (whatever little) on that with you.

Love

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Monica Clarke's picture

Thank you

..and bless you Stella. Go well my child. Lots of loving from Ouma (grandmother) Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

usha kc's picture

Dear,, I am here to support

Dear,, I am here to support you to fulfilled your vision . I agree GBV is a global burning issue which is being unreported crime.
keep your vision clear !

big hug.

Monica Clarke's picture

Thanks Usha

Thank you for reading and for your comment. I know you are just around the corner, there when I need to call for help.
Thank you my sister.

Lots of loving from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Juliette Maughan's picture

GBV a complex issue

GBV is a serious issue as well in my region. We certainly do have have the data to report the true effect of this form of violence. Where it is that police do not take it seriously, women themselves fail to report it, or when they do end up dropping the charges.

The way to address these problems is not only the responsibility of government or the policy, it is that of the community and of us women ourselves. Actually I would say that it starts with us. Each and every one of us needs to adopt a zero tolerance approach to GBV.

Additionally, we also have to educate women that abuse it not only limited to the physical abuse, this usually takes place at a late stage. It starts with the threats and verbal/emotional abuse and we have to make women aware of these signs before they get to the later stage of manifestation.

I am sharing with you the UN Women Campaign that they did in the Caribbean region with popular artists http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLF90F0D200E475E39.

Keep it up Monica! South Africa has come a long way and is now an example in some regards. I look forward to hearing of your success.

Juliette

I love that saying of yours very much, Juliette. Thanks for lighting up my miles with your smiles. Thanks for reminding me about the site Say No to Violence, and for the link to the Caribbean artists.

Lots of loving from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Adepeju's picture

When it comes to women and

When it comes to women and the law, you know my stand. I'm with you all the way on this. Increasing incidents of GBV in Nigeria really terrifies me. I dont know about South Africa but I know that in Nigeria, you will need to battle with breaking the culture of silence in such matters before collecting datas. Most times here, you dont get to hear of the violence until the woman is almost dead or infact dead! Many people suffer in silence based on the advice of, religious organisations, family members etc and even when they are bold enough to come out they meet a society not ready to accept them and a law which does not adequately provide cover for them. Keep up the good work dear! I'm sharing your excitement...

Monica Clarke's picture

The cockpit can accommodate us all

Dear Adepeju

Yes, we can all be pilots in this struggle to get our voices heard and to speak up about all those thousands of incidents of near death which are never reported. Why do we have to die to get media attention?

Thanks for reminding me that when 'zeal comes to low ebb, courage seems to count for nothing, the funds are nowhere and one just feels like giving up,' sisters are around to support each other in the cockpit.

I would like to become a friend and will send you an invite, coz I think we could support each other in our work in the future. My happiest moments were when I was a midwife delivering babies in Cape Town's shanties in the 1960's. I admire what you are doing for the women and their babies.

Lots of loving from Monica

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Adepeju's picture

Really? You were once a

Really? You were once a midwife and you are now a lawyer? Interesting! I've accepted your request and yes, i think there are several ways we can be able to collaborate as you mentioned and I'm eagerly looking forward to it. Much love dear

Carlotta's picture

I continue to be inspired by

I continue to be inspired by your well researched articles. The law has to be enforced with the help of the police and as fate would have it, today on the news they releases alarming statistics of police officers involved in criminal activities, chief among them domestic violence and the rape of women in custody. Monica, isn't that depressing, huh?

Monica Clarke's picture

Dear Carlotta

Thank you for supporting me in my dream. I hope that when (not if) we are able to start a mass inforamation gathering system of gbv that you might have the time to work with me on it? Coz, as you say Carlotta, it is very depressing and could be debilitating if we allowed ourselves to go down that route. I will be in touch with the idea - even if I am not one of the correspondents this time around - for I would like to keep looking for ways in which we can do something about this on a global level.

God bless you and I hope we shall still be sisters and just say hi even if we are not going to be going forward as VOF correspondents.

Lots of loving from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Carlotta's picture

I would definitely love to

I would definitely love to work with you and we'll continue to be in touch. Even if we do not make it as correspondents, we were blessed with this opportunity to get to know each other so it will never be in vain.

MaDube's picture

And your vision shall come to

And your vision shall come to pass because you are not alone in this fight. With the increased spotlighting of gender based violence in the home, in the work place and in the political spheres the only possible outcome is that it will end. Time will tell when it shall end but it shall surely end. Keep the fight going dear Monica. I am with you.

Monica Clarke's picture

Dear Rumbi

Thank you for supporting me in my dream. I will be in touch with the idea - even if I am not one of the correspondents this time around - for I would like to keep looking for ways in which we can do something about this on a global level.

God bless you and I hope we shall still be sisters and just say hi even if we might not go forward as VOF correspondents.

Lots of loving from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

faridaY's picture

It has been a learning

It has been a learning experience to read your posts on domestic violence and the progress and setbacks in South Africa. We have a long way to go on the issues on the continent. Keep up your good work Monica.
Your determination and focus are inspiring.

Monica Clarke's picture

Thank you, Farida

God bless you and your family.

Lots of loving from Monica in France this cold autumn afternoon.

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

fem4femmes's picture

Growing...

Monica-

I come here first as I start to read the posts from the two hundred amazing women in this group, because I always feel larger and stronger and more confident when I can absorb your strength and confidence within me! My passion is also to end GVB and yet, the enormity and the weight of this task is sometimes too exhausting to bear...

Thank you for renewing my strength and for sharing that weight with me!! Yes!! Let us collect the numbers and take them to the UN and to each of our respective governments and to any other authority!! Let us bombard them with the reality until they cannot ignore or minimize it any more!! When women are no longer silenced and the harm we experienced is no longer dismissed, the world will be a safer place for all humans!!

You are a Voice of the Future!! a Voice for Change!! So much love and admiration!!

marissa

"I am the flicker, flame, butterfly ablaze who wants to fly in search of mythical rainbows beyond the rain." ~ Ana Castillo

Monica Clarke's picture

Dear Marissa

Dear Marissa

Thank you for reading and listening and for your joyful encouragement. What a glorious vision, us one day marching to the UN with billions of signatures from women all over the world!

I remember something I wrote elsewhere on this site, that when the then Minister of Justice in South Africa wanted to force black women to carry the passbook which had to be produced upon demand on the threat of immediate imprisonment if you could not produce it...when he tried to force the women to carry them, the women marched to Pretoria with the message: 'You have tampered with the women. You have struck a rock'.

I shall keep that memory sharp until GBV is something which our children's children will look puzzled about when explained to that there was a time when people beat each other up in the home, and they will be amazed and say 'Really? You must be joking!' Let's keep our vision clear and our arms around each other till then.

Love from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

meg.peterson's picture

Dear Monica, I really enjoyed

Dear Monica,
I really enjoyed your post and see your vision very clearly. You have the skills, knowledge, motivation and plan to succeed in raising awareness and eventually eradicating GBV. I believe you would be a great correspondent and wish you luck!
Best, Megan

Monica Clarke's picture

Thanks for the encouragement,

Thanks for the encouragement, Meg, and thank you for taking the time to read my journal entry. Even as I write I know that people are abusing each other, exploiting the weaker. It is a chilling thought, isn't it. Together we shall continue to do what we can, while we can.

With love and warmth from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Rachael Maddock-Hughes's picture

Wow

I am so incredibly impressed with the clarity of your vision Monica. It is a call to arms for women around the world to collect the data which can bring about change. Have you thought of using Ushahidi to map incidences of violence and perhaps local shelters or supporting organizations? Have you used Frontline SMS yet for these purposes?

Kind regards,

Rachael

"In every human heart there are a few passions that last a lifetime. They're with us from the moment we're born, and nothing can dilute their intensity." Rob Brezny

Monica Clarke's picture

Thank you from a web dinosaur

Dear Rachel

Thanks for reading my article, and for sharing my vision with me.

Yes, I work with the Saartjie Baartman Centre for abused women and children in Cape Town, S.Africa (www.saartjiebaartmancentre.org.za ). It provides refuge, education, counselling, skills training, and legal support for abused women and children. I hope to start collecting data in Cape Town, then spread out from there. We will need to link with other organisations in SA which do similar work, and this is something which we need to work out how to do, none of us being particularly computer savvy. We have done a local project called The South Africa Clothesline Project, Silent No More, We’re Hanging Out Our Dirty Laundry: where t-shirts with our stories on them are hung in public spaces: www.isiswomen.org/pub/wia/wia302/silent.htm

But proud to say I have started to do my homework! I've been in touch with the Director of Community Engagement called Heather at Ushahidi, who is very suportive. She wrote back to me and said that she has posted some Ushahidi project plan deployment toolkits for people to use in their blog.ushahidi.com, to help organize my intended project. (Research done by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative - http://blog.ushahidi.com/index.php/category/evaluation-2/)

I'm also in touch with Linda Ranfree who used the Ushahidi platform in their SMS Reporting and Tracking of Violence against Children (VAC) project (VAC Benin or VAC Cameroon http://lindaraftree.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/future-proofing-the-vac-ben...). Her blog contains lots of info.

Both of them have promised to connect me to other deployers as I go along. And Scott has also told me about http://www.frontlinesms.com - fantastic stuff .......

Problem is I have no idea what they're talking about! You might not believe this, Rachel, but web dinosaurs like me do still exist.

So I will need to learn a lot, and will need to get some IT savvy young folk (like you perhaps?) on board to help me with all this stuff. I do have many contacts with organisations doing similar work and CAN reach the people who are the victims of GBV on the ground. I have my senior rail pass and bus travel card. But I do not, I'm afraid, yet have the licence required to drive on the web!

'Nuff said.

With lots of love and thanks to you for reading my post from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Lombe's picture

Thanks

You are so brave and I thank you for it.

I do some work on gender Based Violence and one of the key issues is getting people to open up and duty bearers to admit the extent of the problem.

Your energy is catching and i look froward to seeing more of your work and writing.

Best regards,

Lombe Mwambwa
"I think a woman has two choices: either she's a feminist or a masochist." Gloria Steinem

Monica Clarke's picture

Thank you

Thank you, Lombe, for your encouragement, thank you for reading my piece, and sorry for the delay in responding. October month being Black History Month in the UK, I generally do a few talks and this has taken up my time over the last two weeks.

Lombe, I have looked at your profile with admiration (your wide smile says it all!) I was wondering if you have any ideas as to how we could help women and children who have been subjected to domestic abuse to heal through sports? Do you know of any international initiatives which have tackled this?

When we are bleeding and our heads are down, we see nothing else but our smallness and uselessness. This is the effect of gender based violence on its victims. How can this be reversed through sporting acivities? I know we all have the freedom to go out and play with a ball, to go running, to do physical exercise everyday, no matter what our circumstances, (so long as we have food to give us energy).But when we are abused, the will is gone. Do you know of any initiatives in sports which have addressed this at national or local level? If you do I would love to hear about them...

I do hope to hear more about the work which you are doing anyway!

With warmth from an African admirerer in France

Monica

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

amiesissoho's picture

There is hope

GBV is so much a reality that exposing it through the stories of women is a positive way to bring it to light. We need to courage to speak out because the perpetrators are more powerful than the victims. But together the voices will be louder.

Amie

Monica Clarke's picture

GBV

I agee, Amie. Together we will do this!

Love and light from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

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