SAWASF Petition against sexual harassment and gender-based violence in South African sport
We are the participants of the third National Advocacy Conference organized by the South African Women and Sport Foundation (SAWASF) express serious concern about the prevalence of sexual harassment and gender-based violence in South African sport. We urge the government and governing bodies to take action in order to eradicate sexual harassment and gender-based violence in sport at all levels, from grass-root to high-performance sports.
We would like to kindly remind you that the Republic of South Africa is a signatory of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (signed in 1993 and ratified in 1995). In 1997, the Republic of South Africa also signed the Declaration on Gender and Development for the Prevention and Eradication of Violence against Women and Children. The National Department of Sport and Recreation, National Sports Council and the Commonwealth Games Association, which is affiliated to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), have also signed the 1994 Brighton Declaration on Women and Sport.
The commitment made by signing these declarations remains unfulfilled. We, therefore, ask the Department of Sport and Recreation and SASCOC to take necessary measures to ensure all women, children and other vulnerable populations in sports have the opportunity to participate in a safe and supportive environment that preserves the rights, dignity and respect of every individual. We specifically ask the authorities to take action in order to address sexual harassment and gender-based violence in sports.
The South African Women and Sport Foundation demands that immediate action be taken to make South African sports safer. While we recognize that there is no quick solution, we also believe that important steps must be taken so that sexual abuse and gender-based violence do not occur in sports. SAWASF can work with government departments namely Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities and SASCOC towards creating a robust mechanism to address these issues.
We can no longer remain silent and fail to take action. We have committed to protecting our women, children and other vulnerable populations. It is time we, as a nation, honour those commitments and act.