The annual 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign started on Friday November 25 and runs until Saturday December 10.
The international campaign raises awareness of the far-reaching harm done to society by the abuse of women and children.
The white ribbon you see on our masthead this week – and which we will run for the duration of the campaign – is a symbol of Northern News’ support for this cause.
This year, our parent company, Independent Media, has also launched its Don’t Look Away campaign which will run parallel to the 16 Days of Activism.
To show our support for the campaign, all Independent staff will wear orange or paint the nail of their index finger orange, which is the colour used by the UN to symbolise a brighter future without violence.
Spotlight on gender justice
For the duration of the 16 Days of Activism, Sonke Gender Justice will be running its #Safe campaign to suggest ways that South African society can become gender equitable and violence-free.
“To address the scourge of gender-based violence in South Africa, during 16 Days of Activism and beyond, Sonke continues its call on government to urgently adopt and implement a fully costed, multi-sectoral and coordinated national strategic plan on gender-based violence,” Sonke Gender Justice said in a media release.
Sonke’s #Safe Campaign has the following demands:
Ban corporal punishment
Decriminalise sex work
Make public transport safer
Reduce overcrowding and unsafe conditions in prisons
Strengthen gun and alcohol laws
Pass hate crimes legislation
Provide psycho-social support to survivors of gender violence and children exposed to it
Address the harmful gender norms that drive the spread of HIV
“Whole of society” approach
The Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) says it will be taking a whole-of-society approach to combating the abuse of women and children, having prioritised the development and protection of the province’s 1.7-million children and 2.1-million women “beyond just this 16-day commemorative period”.
In a statement, the department said that through the children and families programme and the victim empowerment sub-programme it had provided key services to women and children at risk all year round. The programmes had received a combined budget of R654.2 million, which had enabled the department to implement a number of projects.
The department recently launched the 10-bed facility, the Safehaven in Noordhoek, which brings to 16 the number of shelters in the Western Cape for abused women and children.
The 100-bed Khuseleka Centre (the Saartjie Bartman Shelter) expanded and launched a new residential wing and drug treatment facility, that allows it to treat addicted abuse victims and babies with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
The office of the MEC launched the social make-over project (SMP), which helped 20 unskilled and unemployed women complete a 10-week personal development and empowerment programme.
During this year’s 16 Days of Activism campaign the department and MEC Albert Fritz, will embark on numerous events, among them a focus on abused people with disabilities with the Cape Mental Health organisation, and a focus on the role of men and fathers, with public events in Mitchell’s Plain.
Report any cases of abuse of women and children to social workers at regional or local offices, or by contacting the DSD hotline at 0800 220 250.