‘Rehabilitate abusive men but don’t punish them’

Tshwane – Well-known radio host and social activist Criselda Dudumashe, who recently opened a case of assault against her new husband, has said that many women withdrew cases of abuse because they were concerned that the justice system would worsen their partners instead of rehabilitating them. 

“Until now, I had never understood and ended up judging the women who withdraw cases. The majority of withdrawn cases end with the victims being killed by their partners. We all agree that the withdrawal of cases is a problem and therefore needs a different approach,” Dudumashe told journalists in Pretoria on Friday.

“The current system as it stands to me – with my limited knowledge of justice – is not designed to intervene in the best interest for all. We have to engage on the reasons why this [withdrawal of cases] happens.”

Dudumashe said she had withdrawn the assault case opened in January against her husband, Prince Siyolo Dudumashe.

“I have had time to think about the case I opened against my husband for assaulting me and came to a conclusion of withdrawing the case with conditions which he agreed to. He will seek anger management and counselling interventions, which he is already undergoing. The desired outcome is correcting an unacceptable behaviour and not to punish and destroy,” she said.

“Prisons cannot be dumping grounds for all ills that require all of us to look at how we contribute to this violent society we live in. We have made violence a form of expression, and that needs to stop.”

Dudumashe said she had a protection order against her estranged husband.

She extended her gratitude to South African citizens and organisations, particularly #NotInMyNameSA, which supported her after she revealed in January that she had suffered domestic abuse.

#NotInMyNameSA secretary general Themba Masango said the organisation would continue to support Dudumashe and other women who had suffered gender-based violence (GBV) across South Africa.

“Criselda Dudumashe is clear, and we stand with her. We must of necessity elevate the debate around the handling of perpetrators. Our current justice system is not equipped to handle GBV victims and perpetrators. Dumping them in prison is not sustainable justice. Restorative justice needs to have stringent legal implications. Let us be a generation of thinkers and provide sustainable solutions to this pandemic that is facing our nation. #NOTINMYNAME continues to facilitate vital conversations,” said Masango.

African News Agency (ANA)

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