16 Days of Activism Month
National dialogues will take place across the country to raise awareness about violence against women and children.
As the country commemorates the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign, Minister in The Presidency responsible for Women, Susan Shabangu, will launch a programme of national dialogues on 25 November.
These dialogues will be rolled out across the country in the next year. They will raise the voice of women and men on what more can be done by government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), religious institutions and individuals to protect them, to bring perpetrators to justice, and to prevent violence against women and children.
Fifty-two percent of the 54 million people in South Africa are female - that is 27.64 million girls and women. The national dialogues aim to reach 100 000, in 1 000 consultative sessions of 100 participants, with men and women separately at first and then in combined sessions.
The dialogues will include public education and awareness raising, and fact finding about the lived experience of communities and government as well as non-governmental services and responses.
This will help us to better understand the complex web of the root causes of gender-based violence in South Africa that make it a frequent occurrence and provide pointers on how to improve services related to violence against women and children.
16 Days of Activism is also a period that calls for activism and action. Each of us should ask the question, what can I do to make a difference?
Across the country, there there will be a number of events and activities taking place during 16 Days of Activism; make sure that you are part of these. Ensure that religious institutions, your sports club or cultural organisation, find a way to take a stand.
Many organisations, NGOs and community groups who support abused women and children 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.
*Jenny Schreiner is Director-General, Department of Women.