On 1 Feb 2022, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa signed three anti-gender-based violence bills that introduced a wider range of protections for victims and survivors. Thanks to this new legislation, it will be compulsory for all convicted sex offenders to be listed on a national register. Additionally, the bills will extend the definition of domestic violence to include victims of assault in those engaged to be married or those in actual or perceived romantic relationships of any duration. (Source: Global Citizens)
These new laws are essential because gender-based violence (GBV) is undoubtedly a crisis in South Africa. A broad term that manifests in different forms from sexual violence to workplace sexual harassment, GBV is what South African President Cyril Ramaphosa once described as a second “pandemic”.
Unfortunately, the Trevor Noah Foundation recently experienced combatting workplace sexual harassment first-hand. Whether in the workplace, schools, or society, sexual harassment and discrimination are utterly unacceptable, and we have zero tolerance for such behaviors. While the process was emotionally and mentally draining, we’re proud to say that we took proactive actions to eliminate inappropriate behaviours and toxicity in our organisation.
As a result, we’re taking measures to
- Protect our staff and partners from discrimination and sexual harassment by mandating annual training and tightening internal policies;
- Hold our schools and implementation partners accountable for respecting our zero-tolerance policy against harassment and discrimination;
- Increase access to legal support for women who can’t afford it by donating to two nonprofit organisations* that provide free legal services and therapy to GBV victims; and
- Enhance representation across gender, geography and expertise by adding two female Board Members in 2022.
The Trevor Noah Foundation leadership commits to fostering a safe and inclusive workplace for staff and the broader Trevor Noah Foundation community. While we alone can’t eliminate every socio-economic ill that underpins systemic GBV in South Africa, we can play our part and take a stance against sexual harassment in the workplace; against GBV.
*About the selected nonprofit organisations
Women’s Legal Centre is an African Feminist Legal Centre that advances women’s rights and equality through strategic litigation, advocacy, education, and training.
Lawyers Against Abuse strengthens the justice systems’ response to gender-based violence by providing legal services and therapy to victims, engaging with state actors and empowering communities.
[Feautured Image: jacoblund]