Support 16 Days of Activism!
Enduring violence and abuse is an unwanted reality for many South Africans. Violence against women and children is a human rights violation that needs to be stamped out. We can make a change by standing up and speaking out.
Every year, from November 25 to December 10, we observe 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. Activists at the first Women's Global Leadership Institute in 1991 launched the widely known campaign. The campaign focuses on raising public awareness of the damaging effects that violence and abuse have on women, children, and the social fabric of our society.
Why is this campaign important?
The rights of women and children are fundamental human rights protected by our national Constitution. Gender-based and child violence, in all its different forms, devalues human dignity and the self-worth of the abused person and must be stopped in our society. The campaign can only succeed if we stand together to safeguard our society against this cycle of abuse.
What is abuse?
Abuse is any form of harm which can include when someone is:
- hurting your body physically or sexually,
- insulting you, or threatens you with violence,
- harassing you sexually,
- humiliating and degrading you at home or in public,
- controlling how you use your money,
- preventing you from getting or keeping a job, or to see friends or relatives,
- stalking you, by following you or visits you without your permission,
- harming your health or wellbeing, or
- monitoring your phone calls and telling you where you can and can’t go.
What's the purpose of the campaign?
The campaign aims to:
- Generate an increased level of awareness among all South Africans about the negative impact of violence and abuse on women and children.
- Stand up to perpetrators of these offences to change their behaviour.
- Enhance and increase partnerships between government, the private sector, civil society, faith-based organisations, and the media to spread the message.
- Raise funds for NGOs that provide invaluable support to the victims and survivors of violence.
- Provide survivors with information on these services and organisations that can help reduce the impact of violence on their lives.
- Engage actively with men and boys in the discourse about combating violence in our homes, our communities and in the workplace.
- Highlight the stories of survivors of gender-based violence and child abuse, and the impact that the campaign has had on their lives.
Western Cape Government initiatives
The purpose of the campaign is to share the stories of survivors of gender-based violence, so that those suffering abuse may be encouraged to also use their voice, make the call, and find help.
Let’s make the Western Cape safer by:
- Speaking out against abuse.
- Reporting abuse.
- Knowing what to do in abusive situations - (see guide for victims of domestic abuse)
- Being alert in our communities. If you know of a person or child being abused in your community, please report it. Our Department of Community Safety can provide help and support to communities.
How can I support 16 Days of Activism?
Wear a white ribbon during the 16 days. A white ribbon is a symbol of peace and symbolises your commitment to never commit or condone violence against women and children.
Other ways you can support the campaign:
Volunteer some of your time and energy in support of a non-governmental organisation or community group working in your area to help abused women and children. Use your life skills and knowledge to help support victims of abuse.
Speak out against women 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 bullying to teachers or the school principal.
- Encourage men and boys to talk about abuse and actively discourage abusive behaviour.
Seek help if you’re emotionally, physically or sexually abusive to your partner or children.
Encourage and talk to friends, relatives, and colleagues to take a stand against the abuse of women and children.
Join your community policing forum (CPF): The community and local police stations are active partners in ensuring local safety and security. The goal of the CPF is to bring about effective crime prevention by launching intelligence-driven crime prevention projects in partnership with local communities. For more information on how to join, contact your local police station.
Where to go for help
You can phone the following organisations to report women and child abuse:
- Gender Based Violence Command Centre: Call 0800 428 428 or dial *120*7867#
- Stop Gender Violence helpline: 0800 150 150
- SAPS: 10111
- Childline: 116
- Report any abuse of children and women to the Department of Social Development on 0800 220 250.
- Department of Social Development Email: GBV365DAYS@westerncape.gov.za / SD.CustomerCare@westerncape.gov.za
- LifeLine 24-hour crisis helpline: 0861 322 322
- Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust counselling lines:
- WhatsApp Support Line: 083 222 5164
- English: 021 447 9762
- isiXhosa: 021 361 9085
- Afrikaans: 021 633 9229
- Observatory Office: 021 447 1467
- Athlone Office: 021 684 1180
- Khayelitsha Office: 021 361 9228
- If you’re a witness and afraid for your safety for reasons linked to being a witness, you can apply for witness protection. Contact the Witness Protection Unit at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on 012 845 6000.
- These shelters can also offer support and assistance.