What is 16 Days of Activism? | Western Cape Government

What is 16 Days of Activism?

16 Days of Activism

Violence in our society is often the symptom of deeper social problems. Together, we need to stand up against violence especially against women and children.  

The International 16 Days of Activism campaign focuses on generating an increased awareness of the negative impact that violence and abuse have on women and children, and the social fabric of our society. The campaign starts on 25 November and ends on 10 December every year.

The 16-day long campaign is another leg of the #356Days of Activism Campaign and #CountMeIn. These campaigns aim to challenge all South Africans to raise awareness about the negative impact of violence against women and children (VAWC) on all members of the community.

The UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, managed by UN Women, will mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, from 25 November to 10 December, under the theme, “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!”

The UNiTE Campaign is calling on people to take a stand against the pervasive rape culture that surrounds us.

Why is this campaign important? A group of young happy female friends standing together

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.

Let's make our communities safer!

How can I support this campaign? A group of diverse women sitting and discussing an issue in a gathering

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. 

Spread the message and join the conversation on social media using #NoExcuse

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.

The Western Cape Department of Community Safety encourages you to stand tall and speak out during the 16 Days of Activism campaign.

Let’s make the Western Cape safer and Better Together. 

  • Speak out against abuse
  • Report abuse
  • The Western Cape Department of Community Safety can provide help and support to communities. If you know of a person or child being abused in your community, please report it.

Report crime anonymously: Call Crime Stop on 08600 10111 or SMS the CRIMELINE on 32211 (R1/sms)

Where to go for help A young boy waiting for the bus

You can phone the following organisations to report women and child abuse:

  • Stop Gender Violence helpline: 0800 150 150
  • Report neglect or abuse of a child: 0861 4 CHILD (24453)
  • SAPS: 08600 10111
  • Childline:  08000 55 555
  • Report any abuse of children and women to the Department of Social Development on 0800 220 250.
  • Gender Based Violence Command Centre: 0800 428 428
  • LifeLine 24-hour crisis helpline: 021 461 1111
  • Find out more about our safety services for women and children by sending an SMS with the word INFO to 35 395.
  • Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust counselling lines:
    • Observatory:    021 447 9762
    • Athlone:            021 633 9229
    • Khayelitsha:     021 361 9085
  • If you’re a witness and are 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) at 012 845 6000.

These organisations can also offer support and assistance:

Athlone House Of Strength (AHOS)


BPW Outeniqua Refuge for Battered Women and their Children (Phambili Refuge)


Carehaven Centre

Athlone, Cape Town

Creative Effective Families (CEF)

Mossel Bay

L’ Abrie De Dieu Safe House


Nonceba Family Counselling Centre


Philisa Abafazi Bethu


Pride Shelter Trust

Cape Town

Saartjie Baartman Centre


Sisters Incorporated


Siyabonga - Huis Van Danksegging




St Anne's Home


United Sanctuary Against Abuse


Worcester House of Hope



Get involved

Share your photos, messages and videos showing how you are participating in the UNiTE campaign on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter using #OrangeTheWorld and #GenerationEquality. You can also join the conversation on social media by sharing the campaign materials that you can download here






The content on this page was last updated on 26 November 2019