Violence against women and children is never acceptable, never excusable, and never
The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children is an international campaign. It takes place every year from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day). The period includes Universal Children’s Day and World AIDS Day.
Every year, government, civil-society organisations and the business sector work together to broaden the impact of the campaign. By supporting this campaign, thousands of South Africans have also helped to increase awareness of abuse and build support for victims and survivors of abuse. – www.info.gov.za
I went to check out the CyberDialogues (South Africa) chat room today to see what was being discussed at the height of the initiative just 1 week into the campaign. Do you know what I found? Nothing. No activity at all, in all 10 chat rooms that have been set up locally. I was so disappointed. Trending on Twitter is one thing, actually getting involved seems to be another foreign concept.
Further away from home, Pakistan is running the White Ribbon “One Million Signature Campaign“. When I checked how that was going I was saddened to find just 8,200 signatures with just 4 days left of the campaign!
It’s ACTIVISM! Do something. Anything. Just do something!
During this period; can you plan to educate your children about abuse? Can you expose an abuser? Can you get involved where the signs are so clear that someone is being abused? Can you read up on the horrific stats of abuse? Can you make that call to get help if you are being abused? Can you be honest about your own attitudes towards abuse and rectify your responsibility as part of the problem in future conversations?
Watch this video by SoulCity and then decide what you will do about this epidemic.
I found all the following info at the official South African government website.
What can you do?
- Support the campaign by wearing the white ribbon during the 16-day period: A white ribbon is a symbol of peace and symbolises the commitment of the wearer to never commit or condone violence against women and children.
- Join the Cyber Dialogues initiative: The Cyber Dialogues facilitate on-line discussions amongst people to discuss issues related to the abuse of women and children, share experiences and propose solutions. Professional experts in the caring professions (social workers, psychologists, counsellors) and political principals also participate in the on-line chatroom. The discussion takes place in cyber space in chat-room format, with discussions in real time via various access points (Thusong Centres) around the country. The Cyber Dialogues are hosted by Gender Links (an NGO) with role players, including Women’s Net, the Gender Advocacy Programme and Government Communications(GCIS) which avails the Thusong Service Centres as communication nodes around the country.
- Participate in the various 16 Days of Activism events and activities
- Volunteer in support of NGOs and community groups who support abused women and children: Many organisations 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.
- Donations: You can donate money to organisations working to end violence against women and children by making a contribution to the Foundation for Human Rights. The Foundation receives money raised during the campaign and distributes it to non-governmental organisations. There is no minimum or maximum amount set for your donation – it is up to you! Tel: 011 339 5560/1/2/3/4/5.
- Speak out against woman and child abuse. Encourage silent female victims to talk about abuse and ensure that they get help. Report child abuse to the police. Encourage children to report bully behaviour to school authorities. Men and boys are encouraged to talk about abuse and actively discourage abusive behaviour.
- Join community policing forums (CPFs).
- The community and the local police stations are active partners in ensuring local safety and security. The goal is to bring about effective crime prevention by launching intelligence-driven crime-prevention projects in partnership with the local community. You may want to also become a reservist, a member of the community who volunteers his/her services and time to support local policing efforts to fight crime. For more information on how to join, contact your local police station.
- Seek help if you are emotionally, physically or sexually abusive to your partner and/or children. Call the Stop Gender Based Violence helpline (0800 150 150).
- Talk to friends, relatives and colleagues to take a stand against abuse of women and children.
- Try and understand how your own attitudes and actions might perpetuate sexism and violence.
How do I know I am being abused?
There are two main ways that you can tell if you are being abused:
1. If someone is saying things to you that you feel is offensive to you and your integrity
and are hurting your feelings. The abuser may also ridicule or name‐call, intimidates,
harass, or stalk you. That is VERBAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL and EMOTIONAL abuse.
2. If someone is touching you in a way that is undignified, harmful – e.g. hitting, forcing
you to have sex, pulling hair, grabbing or smacking you. The abuser may also damage
your property or enter your residence without your permission. That is all PHYSICAL
Nobody has the right to hit, push, shove, shake, kick, slap or punch you.
If they love you, they would not harm you. If they respect you, they will
not treat you with indignity and disrespect.
What do I do if I am being abused?
• Don’t suffer in silence: If you are being physically, psychologically (mentally),
emotionally or sexually abused in a relationship, it is important that you seek help. You
do not have to continue to suffer in silence.
• Talk to someone you can trust: confide in a friend, a neighbour, a relative, a spiritual
leader or elder, a doctor, or a counselor.
• It is not your fault: There is no excuse for any form of abuse and you do not have to
put up with it. Both physical and emotional abuse is against the law and help is available
through the legal system.
• You can get help: You can use the legal system to help you.
Go to the Domestic Violence Court closest to you and apply for a
Protection Order. lay a criminal charge against the abuser, for example for rape or sexual
What are the signs that my friend is being abused?
•unexplained bruises, broken bones, sprains, or marks
•excessive guilt or shame for no apparent reason
•secrecy or withdrawal from friends and family
•avoidance of school or social events with excuses that don’t seem to make any sense
How do I help an abused friend?
• Listen: A person who is being abused needs someone to hear and believe him or her.
• It is not his/her fault: Help your friend understand that it is not his or her fault. Your
friend is not the bad person. The person who is being abusive has a problem and needs
• Encourage him/her to seek help: Your friend also needs your encouragement to get
help immediately from an adult, such as a parent, family member, or guidance
• If a friend has been raped: Encourage the friend who has been raped to go to a
hospital within 72 hours to test for HIV. The hospital will start them on a short course of
antiretrovirals that can reduce chances of getting HIV and report the matter to the police
How do I help an abused child?
• Talk to them gently
• Don’t interrogate. Let the child explain to you in his or her own words what happened,
but don’t interrogate the child.
• Assure them they are not in trouble and that you will keep them safe.
• Tell them that you will believe them and DO so
• Contact your nearest social workers and report the case
• Call Childline where you may report the case anonymously
Who do I call if someone I know is being abused?
Women Abuse Helpline: 0800 150 150
Childline: 0800 055 555
SAPS Crime Stop: 08600 10111
AIDS Helpline: 0800 012 322
How can I stop abusing my partner/child?
• Acknowledge that what you are doing is wrong (no matter what the degree).
• Stop rationalizing that abusive treatment of other people as acceptable. Abuse is NEVER
healthy or acceptable regardless of the messages you may have been taught or
witnessed in the past.
• If alcohol makes you more likely to commit violence, stop or reduce.
• Avoid alcohol and drugs to deal with your problems.
• Exercise and listen to soothing music to deal with stress.
• Walk away from the confrontation until you are calmed down
• Go to the family elders, trusted friend, neighbour, church elders and community leaders
for mediation of disputes.
• Seek out the professional assistance of a psychologist or other professionals.
Who can I call to help me stop my abusive behaviour?
Gender Based Violence helpline: 0800 150 150.
Suicide Helpline: 0800 567 567
Toll free Crisis Line: 0861 574 747
National AIDS Helpline: 0800 012 322
Where to get help
- What if you are abused [PDF]
- Counselling and support for women
- National Crisis Helpline (Lifeline) 0861 322 322
- Stop Gender-Based Violence Helpline 0800 150 150
- People Opposed to Women Abuse 011 642 4345
- Family and Marriage Society of South Africa 012 460 0733
- National Network on Violence Against Women 012 321 4959
- Counselling and support for children
- Childline 0800 055 555
- Social Security
- Child support grants 0800 601 011
- Marie Stopes clinics 0800 11 77 85
- Depression and Anxiety Group 011 783 1474
- AIDS Helpline 0800 012 322
- AID for AIDS 0860 100 646
- Legal assistance
- Legal Aid Board 011 845 4311
- Lawyers for Human Rights 011 339 1960
- Campaigns for men who support no violence
- Men as Partners Project 011 833 0504
- Sexual Harassment Education Project 011 403 0541
- Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation 011 403 5650
- South African Police Service
- Suicide Crisis Line 0800 567 567