11 practical ways you can support the 16 Days of Activism campaign
Despite our liberal constitution that protects the rights and personal safety of all its citizens, South Africa still has very high levels of violence against women and children. Each year, the 16 Days of Activism campaign aims to raise awareness around the abuse of women and children, educating people in order to help bring an end to this violence.
- The focus of this year’s campaign themed “Count me in: Together moving a non-violent South Africa forward is to expand 16 Days into a year-long, intensified programme that will ensure men and boys are part of the solution.
The campaign aims to:
- Challenge the perpetrators of violence to change their behaviour
- Involve men in helping to eradicate violence
- Provide survivors with information on services and organisations that can help lessen the impact of violence on their lives
Why is it so important for me to get involved? Can I really make a difference?
YES you can!
The greater the number of people who become involved in the campaign, the further its message can be spread: a message to combat abuse at a national level. The success of this campaign is based on ‘strength in numbers’, so your involvement can help – in a BIG way.
How can I get involved in a meaningful way?
Here are 11 practical ways in which you can support the 16 Days of Activism campaign. Do as many as you can and/or as many as are applicable to you.
1. Speak out!
Don’t remain silent about abuse against women and children – report it! Encourage silent female victims to get help and to confide in someone they trust about the abuse, so that they can get the support they need. Teach kids to report bullying or abusive behaviour by kids or adults to school authorities or an adult they trust.
2. Lead by example.
If you’re a man, you play a critical role in preventing violence and abuse. Talk about abuse, teach male friends and relatives about it, and encourage the men and boys around you to stop their abusive behavior.
3. Create a safe home.
You and your family must work together to create a safe home environment for the women and children in your family.
4. Protect kids from harmful material.
If you’re a parent, make sure your children are not exposed to explicit material such as pornography or graphic violence on TV, in games or in books and magazines.
Donate some of your time and energy to helping out at a non-governmental organisation or community group in your area, which helps abused women and children. Use your knowledge and life skills to lend valuable support to these organisations.
If you can, donate some money to organisations working to end violence against women and children. You can make a contribution to the Foundation for Human Rights – contact them on 011 339 5560/1/2/3/4/5.
Get involved in online dialogues such as Gender Links’ Cyber Dialogues, which creates a platform to share issues, experiences and solutions, with experts participating in the chats. Visit www.genderlinks.org.za for more information.
8. Read up.
Get connected with important contacts and information published at www.womensnet.org.za.
9. Get help for your abusive behavior.
If you are emotionally, physically or sexually abusive to your partner and/or children, call the Stop Gender Based Violence helpline on 0800 150 150. They can help you change your behavior.
10. Report illegal weapons.
If a family member or your partner is possession of illegal guns, report it to the police immediately. According to the International Action Network on Small Arms Women’s Network, women are three times more likely to die violently if there is a gun in the home.
11.Become a real-life superhero (it’s easier than you think).
Join a community policing forum (CPF) or community safety forum (CSF) to help fight crime in your area. For information on how to join, contact your local police station.
Get help and support at Marie Stopes
At Marie Stopes, we offer caring, confidential advice and support to men, women and teens. Visit your nearest branch to chat in private to a friendly nurse, or for family planning advice or HIV counselling and testing.