16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children

Background

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.

During this time, the South African Government runs a 16 Days of Activism Campaign to make people aware of the negative impact of violence on women and children and to act against abuse. We are firmly committed to lead a coordinated effort to sustain the campaign into its next decade.

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.

What can you do?

Together, let us take actions to support the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign.

  • 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 will run from 13h00 to 14h00 SA time. Read the instructions. 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. Gender Links (an NGO) hosts the cyber dialogues with role players, including Women’s Net, the Gender Advocacy Programme and Government Communications (GCIS).
  • Participate in the various 16 Days of Activism events and activities: A calendar outlining events taking place around the country over the period of the 16 days will be made available.
  • 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.

  1. 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).
  2. Talk to friends, relatives and colleagues to take a stand against abuse of women and children.
  3. Try and understand how your own attitudes and actions might perpetuate sexism and violence.