This year’s 16 Days of Activism campaign will start on the same day as International Day of No Violence Against Women on 25 November, and end on International Human Rights Day on 10 December.
This year, the campaign focuses on men. “Not all men are abusers. There are many good men out there, and these are the people we want to help us fight women and children abuse.” said Provincial and Local Government Deputy Minister, Nomatyala Hangana.
It is frightening that you can no longer only tell your children not to accept gifts and sweets from strangers. Hangana said. “You also have to warn them against their fathers, uncles, other close relatives and neighbours who are supposed to protect them.”
Last year’s focus was on rural areas, informal settlements and farming communities, because these areas are mostly affected by abuse. One of the reasons is that people in rural areas often lack information because they don’t have access to modern technology like computers and television.
Men can speak
Studies have shown that last year’s campaign was a success. Many people, especially in the rural areas of the Free State got information about abuse and how to deal with it, Hangana said. This year’s campaign will continue to focus on rural areas, but will be aimed especially at men.
This is not only because men are often the abusers, but also because men can speak out against it. Hangana said they were working with men’s organisations and non-governmental organisations to encourage men to speak openly about how bad it is to abuse women and children, Hangana said.
Events like Premiership Soccer League games will also be used to teach spectators about the importance of not abusing women and children. The Department of Correctional Services will contribute to the campaign by getting ex-offenders to talk against abuse.
The Department of Education will get schoolboys to teach other boys to protect girls and not to abuse or bully them, Hangana said. “The struggle to stop abuse has started, but government cannot win it alone,” she said. Everyone in society must work together with all the different organisations that deal with abuse to help government. “We want to encourage victims and communities to report cases of abuse to the police.”
A march by men only called the Men’s March will mark the start of this year’s campaign. Provinces and municipalities will organise their own marches and events against abuse. During this time, people are asked to show their support for the fight against abuse by wearing stickers or white ribbons.
There will also be a postcard campaign where you can sign and post a special card with an anti-abuse message. The money raised is managed by the Human Rights Foundation, which gives it to struggling organisations dealing with abuse.
“More than R1,6 million was made and given out last year. The board of the Foundation decides which organisations and charities will benefit,” Hangana said.
Facts and figures
The 16 Days of Activism is also used as an opportunity for government to get facts and figures about abuse, like how many women and children are abused. Cases are then handled throughout the year with the support of the National Action Plan. This becomes 365 Days of Activism.- Ndivhuwo Khangale
Cases of abuse are handled throughout the year. This becomes 365 Days of Activism
SUPPORT FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN
- National Crisis Helpline (Lifeline): 0861 322 322
- People Opposed to Women Abuse: 011 642 4345
- Stop Gender-based Violence Helpline: 0800 055 555
- Childline tollfree helpline: 08000 55555
- Ndivhuwo Khangale