Speak out and report crime, Kenton police urge

The Ndlambe Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP) and Family Forum closed off their 16 Days of Activism campaign for no violence against women and children at the Kenton on Sea town hall on Friday, 9 December.

Representatives from the Victim Empowerment Program, SAPS Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) unit, religious leaders, traditional leaders and community leaders gathered at the Kenton on Sea town hall to close the 16 Days of Activism campaign. Picture: FAITH QINGA

This was their final community support meeting of the year, where various stakeholders from the religious sector, police and community leaders joined residents for a workshop on how to fight the scourge of gender based violence (GBV).

Ndlambe’s VEP chairman, George Petzer opened the meeting with prayer before he welcomed all in attendance. Petzer said the discussions would be used to give input into the forum’s plans for the upcoming year in tackling GBV in the area.  Petzer thanked guest speaker, [Nobanzi Dama], from the Eastern Cape’s Premier’s Office, for making the effort to attend the meeting to present the strategic plan to fight against GBV. 

After the dialogue, Petzer said the executive committee would be able to sit together with the input of all the stakeholders and community presented at the closing meeting and draft a plan for next year. 

Police officials from the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) unit urged community members not be afraid of speaking out and reporting crime and abuse. 

“Let’s not keep quiet. Let’s speak out, because the earlier you report an incident, the better chances for the police to solve your case,” said Warrant Officer Kanzi. 

Kanzi also explained the process of reporting rape cases. He advised rape survivors  to report rape immediately so they can be taken to the hospital for care, but also to obtain a swab that can identify the perpetrator through their DNA. 

Family members should never try to deal with rape incidents among themselves. This frequently happened if, for instance, the perpetrator was a provider in the home. 

“If we find out that the family discussed rape incidents amongst themselves, we will arrest everyone who is aware of that arrangement,” he warned. Kanzi emphasised that men can also be victims of rape.

“Please do not feel ashamed if this has happened to you,” Kanzi said. “Go and open a case against the perpetrator.”

During a break in the dialogue, children from Kenton’s Child Welfare provided entertainment for the day, with well-choreographed traditional dancing and singing. 

Kenton on Sea’s station commander, Captain Tommie Parkinson, then encouraged women and children to report abuse, not only during the 16 days campaign but every day of the year.  

“What I’d like to see in this community is that whenever you are walking in the night or the day, avoid walking alone. Rather walk in groups,” Parkinson said.

“Please report [any incident of abuse or rape] immediately,” Parkinson said. “We’ve got a policy at Kenton police station that we will not turn you away, even if you are under the influence of liquor.” 

At Kenton police station, two offices are set aside as the victim empowerment room, where survivors can feel safe. There is a bed and a small play area for children. 

Parkinson advised parents to build trusting relationships with their children, so they would be comfortable to tell them if they were abused. “It is important to keep your children under your wing and have a close relationship with them,” he advised.

Community members were encouraged to spread the message: speak out and  report all forms of abuse to the police.