Take a stand against women and child abuse

This is an international awareness-raising campaign. It takes place every year from  November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to December 10 (International Human Rights Day). The period includes Universal Children’s Day and World AIDS Day.

South Africa adopted the campaign in 1998 as one of the intervention strategies towards creating a society free of violence, reports the Boksburg Advertiser.

The campaign continues to raise  awareness among South Africans about the negative impact of violence against women and children on all members of the community.

At the launch of the 16 Days Campaign on November 25, 2014, President Jacob Zuma said that activism against gender-based violence should be a year long campaign and not limited to 16 days. The Department of Women heeded the President’s call and launched the 365 Days for No Violence Against Women and Children” (#365Days campaign) and #CountMeIn.

Objectives of the campaign

  • 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 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 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.

What can you do?

  • Support the campaign by wearing the white 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.
    • Spread the message on social media using
  • Join community policing forums (CPFs): The community and the local police stations are active partners in ensuring local safety and security. The goal is to bring about effective crime prevention by launching intelligence-driven crime-prevention projects in partnership with the local community.You may want to also become a  reservist, a member of the community who volunteers his/her services and time to support local policing efforts to fight crime. For  more information on how to join, contact your local police station.

Where to get help

  • SAPS Crime Stop 08600 10111
  • Gender-Based Violence Command Centre 0800 428428/0800 GBV GBV
  • STOP Gender Violence Helpline 0800 150 150/ *120*7867# from any cellphone
  • Childline- Report child abuse 0800 055 555
  • Elderly people helpline 0800 003 081
  • Family and Marriage Society of South Africa – Advice on family relationships
    011 975 7107
  • Suicide Crisis Line 0800 567 567
  • Alcoholics Anonymous SA 0861 435 722
  • Substance Abuse helpline 0800 121 314
  • Narcotics Anonymous SA 0839 00 69 62
  • National Crisis Line – counselling service 086 132 2322
  • Human Trafficking 08000 737 283 (08000 rescue) / 082 455 3664

INFORMATION OBTAINED FROM www.gov.za

  AUTHOR
Riaan Engelbrecht

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