Original article on tembisan.co.za | 6 December 2016
“Count me in: Together moving a non-violent South Africa forward.” This is the theme for this year’s 16 Days of Activism.
For the 16th year, South Africa will take part in the global 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign, which runs from November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) through to International Human Rights Day on December 10.
While the campaign runs only for 16 days each year, its objectives are reinforced by a year-long programme and a national plan to combat abuse. South Africa is still home to high levels of violence against its women and children, despite a world-renowned Constitution and a legislative overhaul that safeguards women’s and children’s rights.
The government, business, civil society organisations, faith-based organisations and the media are all participating in the drive to increase awareness of the negative impact of violence and abuse on women and children.
The campaign also aims to:
• Challenge the perpetrators of violence to change their behaviour
• Involve men in helping to eradicate violence
• Provide survivors with information on services and organisations that can help lessen the impact of violence on their lives.
What you can do
South Africans are urged to support the campaign by wearing a white ribbon, a symbol of peace, during the 16-day period to symbolise their commitment to never commit or condone violence against women or children.
Other ways of supporting the campaign:
• Speak out against woman and child abuse. Encourage silent female victims to challenge abuse, and ensure that they get help. Report child abuse to the police immediately. Encourage children to report bullying behaviour to school authorities
• Men are critical partners in the fight against the abuse of women and children. Men and boys are encouraged to talk about abuse and actively discourage abusive behaviour
• Families must stick together to create a safe environment for women and children
• Parents and adults can make sure that children are not exposed to inappropriate sexual and violent material
• Report illegal guns to the police. According to the International Action Network on Small Arms Women’s Network, women are three times more likely to die violently if there is a gun in the home
• Join a community policing forum (CPF) to help fight crime in your area. For information on how to join, contact your local police station.
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