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Be the change you want to see- stop violence against women and children!

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BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE – STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN!

The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign will take place from 25 November to 10 December 2017. This year the campaign will be held under the theme: “Count Me In: Together Moving a Non-Violent South Africa Forward”.


Over this period, government will convene a series of dialogues on violence against women and children to focus on the problem, discuss the causes and to find appropriate solutions. Through the dialogue sessions government will interact with community members who experience violence and abuse.

In May this year, Major General Tebello Mosikili, national head of the police’s Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offences Investigation unit, has warned women to report abuse early – lest they be killed by their partners.

The latest police statistics show that between April and December last year, 14 333 people were murdered in South Africa and there were 37 630 sexual offences!

While police statisticians have included rape as a subcategory of sexual offences to enable them to identify the size of the problem (there were 30 069 rapes over the April to December 2016 period), there has been no move so far to similarly enumerate the numbers of femicides – women killed by their intimate partners – as a subcategory of murder.

From 26th November 2016, the Department of Women has managed to lead community dialogues in Limpopo, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga provinces to understand and address causes of gender based violence. It is important that the 16 Days Campaign is not viewed as a stand-alone event. It is another leg of the #356Days of Activism Campaign and #CountMeIn, which aims to mobilise members of society, especially men to join hands with government in the fight to curb Violence Against Women.

What is violence against women and children?

Violence takes many forms, for example:

  • Physical violence in the form of domestic violence, terrible violent crime such as murder, robbery, rape and assault.
  • Emotional violence and trauma at many levels caused by many factors. Women and children in their homes, at work, at schools, on our streets, in our communities suffer this form of violence for various reasons.
  • Another terrible blight of our democracy is the violence of poverty, starvation, humiliation and degradation, especially against women and children. Poverty, inequality and unemployment are conditions under which violence thrives.

Objectives of the campaign are to:

  • Attract all South Africans to be active participants in the fight to eradicate violence against women and children, hence the theme: Count me in.
  • Expand accountability beyond the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster to include all government clusters and provinces.
  • Combine technology, social media, the arts, journalism, religion, culture and customs, business and activism to draw attention to the many ways violence against women and children affects the lives of all people in all communities around the world.
  • Ensure mass mobilisation of all communities to promote collective responsibility in the fight to eradicate violence against women and children.
  • Encourage society to acknowledge that violence against women and children is NOT a government or criminal justice system problem, but a societal problem, and that failure to view it as such results in all efforts failing to eradicate this scourge in our communities.
  • Emphasise the fact that the solution lies with all of us

What can we do?

Together, let us take actions to support the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign.

  • Support the campaign by wearing thered ribbon during the 16-day period: A white ribbon is a symbol of peace and symbolises the commitment of the wearer to never commit or condone violence against women and children.
  • Participate in the various 16 Days of Activism events and activities.
  • Volunteer in support of NGOs and community groups who support abused women and children: Many organisations need assistance from the public. You can volunteer your time and make a contribution to the work of institutions. Help plant a garden at a shelter, sponsor plastic tables and chairs for kids at a clinic or join an organisation as a counsellor. Use your skills and knowledge to help the victims of abuse.

Speak out against woman and child abuse.

  • Encourage silent female victims to talk about abuse and ensure that they get help.
  • Report child abuse to the police.
  • Encourage children to report bully behaviour to school authorities.
  • Men and boys are encouraged to talk about abuse and actively discourage abusive behaviour.
  • Seek help if you are emotionally, physically or sexually abusive to your partner and/or children. Call the Stop Gender Based Violence helpline (0800 150 150).
  • Talk to friends, relatives and colleagues to take a stand against abuse of women and children.
  • Try and understand how your own attitudes and actions might perpetuate sexism and violence.

 

Be the change you want to see- stop violence against women and children!

AUTHOR

Inge Liebenberg

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