South Africa: Help for Abused Women

In collaboration with the Centre d'information et documentation sur le Mozambique et l'Afrique australe (CIDMAA) and Co-cordinated Action for Battered Women (CABW)


In March and April 1992, at the invitation of CIDMAA, Sue Holland-Muter, coordinator of the feminist journal AGENDA which is the leading feminist journal in South Africa, visited more than twenty groups of women in Montreal and Quebec City to testify about the violence against women in Southern Africa. Among these groups met, a majority works with abused women. In Quebec, this phenomenon has reached such proportion that a large network of over 155 groups was formed.

Throughout the meetings, the workers of the centers against sexual assault, women's centers and shelters have hoped to have projects and concrete links with their counterparts in Southern Africa.

Violence against women in Southern Africa, as testified Ms. Holland-Muter at the Symposium of CQFD (AQOCI), is at a frightening scale. Also, the South African have established a number of resources comparable to those we developed in Canada (though fewer). So we find the center against rape (Rape Crisis), lodging houses, centers women and about thirty groups together in coalition.

These interveners, that Ms. Holland-Muter has encountered before arriving in Canada, had also expressed their desire to connect with women in South Africa.


  • Helping abused women to fight the legacy of abuse they have suffered;
  • Improve services to women victims of violence at all levels (medical, legal, social, protection)
  • Share in the member-organizations, knowledge, expertise and experience may constitute an adequate response to the problem of violence against women;
  • Encourage all organizations to share responsibility for the problem of violence against women;
  • Act as a pressure group to change policies and laws;
  • Raise the level of public awareness concerning the problem of battered women;
  • Enter the problem of violence against women in the agenda of all organizations (including political parties) and integrate it into the national constitution;
  • Strengthening women's organizations in South Africa;
  • Establish animation programs and prevention on the issue of violence against women.


1.Support component and institutional development to women's groups

  • The establishment, in collaboration with local community groups, of support structures in the community for abused women (at least two of these groups are set up);
  • Initiation of support groups for abused women (there are groups established in the communities; four new groups in the first phase);
  • Editing a training manual ("Behind Closed Doors") for new groups;
  • Production and distribution of an intervention guide on violence against women;
  • The compilation of a resource guide, where and how to access services for battered women.

2. Training program

  • Organizing public awareness campaigns;
  • Holding training courses for eight participants (each session includes thirty participants);
  • The educational workshops for community groups and professionals (in 1991, these workshops have mobilized 1,217 people in 52 workshops);

3. Production of teaching materials

  • The production of posters for advertising campaigns;
  • Printing of 15,000 copies of "Battering is a Crime" in three languages ​​(5000 copies in each language;
  • Producing an information kit for media and community groups, including the production of brochures on CABW and resources.


1993 - 1994
South Africa