15 November 2023
16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM FOR NO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN
Violence and abuse are the reality of many South Africans, and it is often a symptom of deeper social problems within our society. By standing up, and speaking out, we can bring about change, especially for the many women and children who are enduring and suffering violence. The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign is a United Nations campaign which takes place annually from 25 November (International Day of No Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day).
WHY IS THIS CAMPAIGN IMPORTANT?
The rights of women and children are fundamental human rights protected by our Constitution. Gender-based and child violence, in all its different forms, devalues human dignity and the self-worth of the abused person. It must be stopped in our society. The campaign can only succeed if we stand together to safeguard our society against this cycle of abuse.
WHAT'S THE PURPOSE OF THE CAMPAIGN?
The campaign aims to:
• Generate an increased level of awareness among all South Africans about the negative impact of violence and abuse on women and children.
• Stand up to perpetrators of these offences to change their behaviour.
• Enhance and increase partnerships between government, the private sector, civil society, faith-based organisations, and the media to spread the message.
• Raise funds for NGOs that provide invaluable support to the victims and survivors of violence.
• Provide survivors with information on these services and organisations that can help reduce the impact of violence on their lives.
• Engage actively with men and boys in the discourse about combating violence in our homes, our communities and in the workplace.
• Highlight the stories of survivors of gender-based violence and child abuse, and the impact that the campaign has had on their lives.
WHAT IS ABUSE?
Abuse is any form of harm, including when someone is:
• hurting your body physically or sexually,
• insulting you, or threatens you with violence,
• harassing you sexually,
• humiliating and degrading you at home or in public,
• controlling how you use your money,
• preventing you from getting or keeping a job, or to see friends or relatives,
• stalking you, by following you or visits you without your permission,
• harming your health or wellbeing, or
• monitoring your phone calls and telling you where you can and cannot go.
Most of these crimes happen where women are assumingly safest – in their homes. Most of these violations occur at the hands of people who claim to love them. Violence against women and children is no longer a matter for only the families from which the women and children come from. The abuse of women and children is a public health issue. It’s a community safety issue. It is a human rights issue. That is why the Langeberg Municipality, in its attempts to build and create safer communities for all, call on all citizens – men and women – to play their part in making our region safer for women and children and report violence and abuse.
PLAY YOUR PART
• Do not protect abusers, report them!
• Sign the Pledge Against Gender-Based Violence. Do not engage in abusive activities and become an abuser- Stop abuse.
• Challenge and denounce cultural practices that perpetuate gender inequalities.
• Be sensitive and supportive to GBV victims - share helpful information and support causes near you.
• Seek personal help to change harmful behaviours such as alcohol and substance abuse.
• Teach children values of gender equality.
• Protect children from exposure to violence and harmful content on internet and social media, including pornography, sexual solicitation.
• Develop policies that prevent and deal with gender-based violence in your sector, workplace, and communities.
• Organise targeted community outreach and dialogues on solution towards a gender equal society.
WHERE TO GO FOR HELP?
• Gender-Based Violence Command Centre: Call 0800 428 428 or dial 1207867#
• National Shelter Movement (24-hour line): 0800 001 005
• Police: 10111
• Childline: 116
• The Human Trafficking Resource Line: 0800 222 777
• Department of Social Development Toll Free line: 0800 220 250
• SASSA 0800 60 10 11
Be an activist against GBV in your homes, communities, work, and positions. Challenge cultures and practices that perpetuate gender inequalities and consequent abuse of women and children at personal and societal level.