25 November-10 December
The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children is an international awareness-raising campaign. It takes place every year from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day).
The period includes Universal Children’s Day and World AIDS Day. South Africa adopted the campaign in 1998 as one of the intervention strategies towards creating a society free of violence. The campaign continues to raise awareness amongst South Africans about the negative impact of violence against women and children on all members of the community.
Objectives of the campaign
The objectives of the 16 Days Campaign are to:
- Attract all South Africans to be active participants in the fight to eradicate violence against women and children, hence the theme: Count me in.
- Expand accountability beyond the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster to include all government clusters and provinces.
- Combine technology, social media, the arts, journalism, religion, culture and customs, business and activism to draw attention to the many ways violence against women and children affects the lives of all people in all communities around the world.
- Ensure mass mobilisation of all communities to promote collective responsibility in the fight to eradicate violence against women and children.
- Encourage society to acknowledge that violence against women and children is NOT a government or criminal justice system problem, but a societal problem, and that failure to view it as such results in all efforts failing to eradicate this scourge in our communities.
- Emphasise the fact that the solution lies with all of us.
What is violence against women and children?
Violence takes many forms, for example:
- Physical violence in the form of domestic violence, terrible violent crime such as murder, robbery, rape and assault.
- Emotional violence and trauma at many levels caused by many factors. Women and children in their homes, at work, at schools, on our streets, in our communities suffer this form of violence for various reasons.
- Another terrible blight of our democracy is the violence of poverty, starvation, humiliation and degradation, especially against women and children. Poverty, inequality and unemployment are conditions under which violence thrives.
What can you do?
Together, let us take actions to support the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign.
- Support the campaign by wearing the white ribbon during the 16-day period: A white ribbon is a symbol of peace and symbolises the commitment of the wearer to never commit or condone violence against women and children.
- Participate in the various 16 Days of Activism events and activities.
- Volunteer in support of NGOs and community groups who support abused women and children: Many organisations need assistance from the public.
- You can volunteer your time and make a contribution to the work of institutions. Help plant a garden at a shelter, sponsor plastic tables and chairs for kids at a clinic or join an organisation as a counsellor.
- Use your skills and knowledge to help the victims of abuse.
- Speak out against woman and child abuse.
- Encourage silent female victims to talk about abuse and ensure that they get help.