#HimOrMe: Trial set to start for mother of two accused of killing abuser
- Lee-Anne Bruce
CALS is set to appear in the Palmridge Magistrates Court to defend a woman accused of killing her abusive partner during an incident of domestic violence
On 16 September, CALS is set to appear in the Palmridge Magistrates Court to defend a mother of two who has been accused of killing her abusive partner during an incident of domestic violence. CALS will be bringing expert evidence to give the court an understanding of the patterns of abuse that occur both in our country and in our client’s life.
Domestic violence is recognised as a widespread and life-threatening problem globally, and one that particularly affects women and children. Though data can be difficult to gather because of the nature of domestic violence occurring in private spaces and the challenges survivors face in reporting abuse, it is thought that up to 50% of women will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetimes in our country.
“The almost inevitable culmination of escalating domestic violence is that someone will die, most often women,” says Sheena Swemmer, head of the Gender Justice programme at CALS. “In some instances, victims of abuse may respond to violence. For them, it literally becomes a situation of ‘him or me’. What we’re arguing is that our courts need to take this phenomenon into account, to engage properly with psychological aspects of domestic violence and trauma.”
On 16 September, the trial of a woman accused of killing her abusive partner begins in the Palmridge Magistrates Court. Prior to his death, she had spent a year facing beatings from him so severe that she suffered a miscarriage. CALS will be acting in her defence. Despite the fact that she poses no threat or flight risk, our client has been denied bail. She has been forced instead to await trial in detention away from her children for more than 22 months. Her trial has suffered continuous postponements, including during the current pandemic due to the decision not to permit access to legal representatives at the Johannesburg Correctional Centre.
This is just one in a series of cases we intend to use to challenge how women are treated in the criminal justice system.
For inquiries, please contact:
- Sheena Swemmer at Sheena.Swemmer@wits.ac.za
- Basetsana Koitsioe at Basetsana.Koitsioe@wits.ac.za