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Ending Violence Against Women


16 Days of Activism on Violence Against Women

Every year, from the 25th of November till the 10th of December a global campaign to end violence against women kicks off. In South Africa, civil society organisations and government increase awareness raising efforts to highlight the huge problem of domestic violence, sexual violence and sexual harassment.

16 Days of Activism on Violence Against Women

Every year, from the 25th of November till the 10th of December a global campaign to end violence against women kicks off. In South Africa, civil society organisations and government increase awareness raising efforts to highlight the huge problem of domestic violence, sexual violence and sexual harassment.

The problem we face is enormous – according to People Opposing Women Abuses’ website, a woman is raped every 26 seconds and a woman dies at the hands of her intimate partner every 12 hours. In 2003, teenage girls comprised one in four victims of reported rape, and girls between 0-11 years old were victims of 1 in seven reported rapes.

Women’sNet, as part of our work in supporting women’s organisations, publicises the campaign and events associated with it. We get calls from all over the country asking “what can I do?” and decided to write down some of the things that small businesses, and large ones, as well as individuals, have done in the past to support the campaign.

In the past businesses have wrapped their buildings with white ribbons (the symbol of the campaign) and offered workshops to staff. Smaller companies have given their employees a day off to volunteer at an organisation. Others gave all staff a white ribbon – to show support and solidarity.

Donations have been made to the campaign fund (managed by the Foundation for Human Rights) and also to individual organisations. Thousands have sent an SMS to 31616 and by doing so, donated R5 to the campaign for the benefit of NGOs.

Naum Rousine, a resident conductor, composer and violinist, from the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, composed a cello concerto expressing in musical form, the senselessness of violence against women and children, the music was performed in 2007. Turf FM Radio hosted radio slots for men to express their solidarity with women and pledge their non-violence. Deneys Reitz Attorneys Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town  sent  a team of lawyers to various magistrates courts to assist women there with their domestic violence interdict applications. Vhusengavhadzimu media, with Old Mutual, hosted a 10 kilometer run in the Vhembe District of Limpopo Province.

This year, the Foschini Group  will be including the campaign logo in all it’s correspondence – and including an information sheet in employees pay slips. They will put posters up in offices and send emails to all staff. Given the statistics, many of their staff will find the information useful.

Examples of contributions both big and small, are endless. Do they make a difference? Yes! They let the many survivors of violence, their friends and families who supported them know that they are valued. Initiatives like the ones above, let women in abusive relationships know that violence is not acceptable. The campaign raises out awareness of the enormity of a problem that is so prolific, it has become almost invisible.

We do have a long way to go to make sure our streets and homes are safe for women and children, and the 16 Days Campaign helps us get a small step closer to a violence free nation.

If you have ideas on activities, or if you have participated in the campaign – past and present- write about it to share your strategies and publicize your efforts: go to: http://www.womensnet.org.za, register as a user and then add your story to the Interactive forum: http://www.womensnet.org.za/what-i-did-16-days-activism-sharing-your-strategies

Women’sNet is a non-profit organisation that uses information and communications technology to empower women and girls for a gender just South Africa. We facilitate content development, research gender and ICT issues, assist women’s organisations to network and communicate and build capacity to use ICTs as a tool for gender equality. Contact us on 011 429-0000

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