Women rise beyond 16 days

Patricia Echardt, Esmeralda Greeff, Rita Abrahams, Angelo Mouton, Thabitha Maphalle, Tamarin Claasen and Tasneem Solomons in their T shirts.

Women leaders are taking a different approach to gender-based violence as part of their 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign.

The international campaign runs every year from November 25 to December 10.

Philisa Abafazi Bethu, a Lavender Hill NPO advocating for the rights and empowerment of women and children, hosted a conference on Sunday November 25 at Grassy Park civic centre with several women leaders from various communities.

The conference coincided with the launch of the group’s own campaigns: the 1 Billion Rising South Africa 365 days campaign; the Protect our Vaginas gender-based violence prevention campaign and Youth Rising.

The conference gave those in attendance a chance to speak about the way forward to protect women and children. Survivors and their families told their stories while some women spoke about their struggles and how protection policies need to change.

LucindaEvans,Philisa Abafazi Bethu founder and director, said it is time for women to rise, resist and unite in solidarity against the surge of violence.

“We addressed institutional patriarchy, legislation, documenting and planning. We are tired of the talk. We are ready to go over to action, whatever it will take. Are we prepared to die or go to prison for what we want? These are the deep questions we need to ask ourselves.

“An injury to one vagina, is an injury to all our vaginas so we have launched 365 days of no violence against women and children because it shouldn’t just be for 16 days, it should be all year round,” said Ms Evans.

Former Mayor Patricia de Lille was also in attendance and supported the movement.