16 days of anti-violence activism

The white ribbon you see on our masthead this week – which we will run for the duration of the campaign – is a symbol of Southern Mail’s support for this campaign.

This year, 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 United Nations to symbolise a brighter future without violence.

Spotlight on gender justice

During the 16 Days of Activism, Sonke Gender Justice will be running it’s #Safe Campaign to suggest a range of concrete strategies on how 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 (NSP on GBV),” Sonke Gender Justice said in a media release.

Sonke’s #Safe Campaign will focus on the following advocacy demands:

Ban corporal punishment

Decriminalise sex work

Make public transport safer

Reduce overcrowding and unsafe conditions in prisons

Strengthen appropriately gun and alcohol laws

Pass hate crimes legislation

Provision of psycho-social support to survivors of gender-based violence and children exposed to it

Address the harmful gen-der norms that drive the spread of HIV.

“Whole of society” approach

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 pro-vince’s 1.7-million children and 2.1-million women “beyond this 16 day commemorative period”.

Through the Children and Families programme and the Victim Empowerment sub-programme (VEP), the department provides key services to women and children at risk 365 days a year, the department said in a media release.

The Children and Families and VEP receive a combined budget of R654.2 million, which has enabled the department to implement many projects.

The department recently launched the 10-bed Safehaven facility in Noordhoek, bringing to 16 the number of shelters in the Western Cape for abused women and children.

The 100-bed Khuseleka Centre (the Saartjie Baartman Shelter) expanded and laun-ched a new residential wing and drug treatment facility, that allows it to treat addicted abuse victims and FASD babies.

The Office of the MEC launched the Social Makeover Project (SMP), that targeted 20 unskilled and unemployed women to complete an intensive 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 to commemorate the period, 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 by to social workers at regional or local offices, or by contacting the DSD hotline on 0800 220 250.