#SayNo to violence against women and children.
16 Days of Activism is a worldwide campaign that aims to bring awareness to the negative impact violence and abuse has on women and children in our society.
It is no secret that South Africa is one of the most violent nations in the world, with women and children being the main victims of attacks and abuse incidents every day. According to the Demographic and Health Survey released by Statistics SA, 1 in every 5 South African women has experienced physical violence, not only at the hands of a stranger, but usually by an intimate partner or those closest to her.
In addition, it has been reported that South Africa’s rape statistics are double the country’s murder rate at 53.8 cases per 100 people in the country. This equates to one person being raped every 13 minutes.
While these statistics are alarming and disgraceful to the country, they do not portray the gruesome reality of what these gender-based crimes entail. Over the passed year, countless cases have made national headlines due to the horrendous manner in which women have been killed in South Africa.
Cases like 22 year-old Karabo Mokoena, who was burnt beyond recognition by her boyfriend, or Hanna Cornelius, 21 year-old student who was kidnapped and murdered by four men, are a strong reminder of the severity of this issue in our country, communities and even in our tight-knit and friendly neighborhoods.
This year, the campaign has the overarching theme “Leave No One Behind: Ending Violence Against Women and Children“, and runs from 25 November to 10 December 2017.
Here are a few ways you can get involved and show your support to end this international crisis:
Show your support by wearing a white ribbon during this period. It symbolises peace and your promise to never condone or commit violence against women and children.
Speak out and spread the message! Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #16DaysofActivism or follow the @16DaysZA twitter account so you can receive regular updates and information on how to get involved and donate through different organisations.
The Reeva Steenkamp Foundation has launched the #BluePurpleBlack campaign, which aims to destigmatise and end the silence around domestic abuse. #BluePurpleBlack refers to the colours of the bruise – the most intimate symbol of abuse. The campaign encourages people to share their experiences on social media using the hashtag, and be part of a movement that refuses to submit to shame and stigma.
People Opposing Woman Abuse (POWA) is a non-profit organisation that provides shelter, counseling and legal services to women in need. Show your support by making a donation of food, finance or clothing, or get involved in one of their campaigns or programmes.
Spend time volunteering at a Women’s Shelter such as the NISAA Institute for Women’s Development. This NGO focuses specifically on the empowerment of women who have abused at the hands of their partners.
The Stay Safe Violence Initiative (SAVI) at the University of Cape Town will be hosting a conference called Preventing Violence and Promoting Safety in Fragile and Insecure Environments from 27 – 28 November.
Violence and abuse of women and children will not end through activism that takes place solely for 16 days once a year. Volunteer or make a contribution at any time during the year at one of the many NGO’s for abused women and children.
Remember to educate yourself about what should be done if you or anyone you know is abused or raped.
Encourage victims to get support and report any instances of abuse or rape.
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Always try to make an on-going conscious decision to challenge the culture of violence against women by not shaming or belittiling other women and encouraging men to do the same.
The success of this campaign rests on our individual actions to prevent against the cycle of abuse in society on a daily basis.
Keep these numbers on hand:
- SAPS Crime Stop 08600 10111
- Gender-Based Violence Command Centre 0800 428428
- STOP Gender Violence Helpline 0800 150150
- Suicide Crisis Line 0800 567 567
- Crisis Line 0861 574747
- SA National Council for Child Welfare 011 339 5741
- Human Trafficking 08000 737283 or 082 4553664
AUTHOR: Farah Khalfe | PHOTO CREDIT: Unsplash