Although the global campaign focuses on violence against women only, South Africa added children to its campaign because of the high incidence of child abuse in the country.
This campaign has been profiled and implemented in South Africa since 1999. The South African Government runs the 16 Days of Activism Campaign to create public awareness on the negative impact of violence on women and children and to encourage collective action against all types of abuse and its prevention in our communities. We are firmly committed to lead a coordinated effort to sustain the campaign into its next decade.
In 2011 the 16 days of activism campaign will be undertaken under the Theme: “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Proliferation of small arms and their role in domestic violence.”
The five sub-themes will be:
- Bringing together women, peace, and human rights movements to challenge militarism
- Proliferation of small arms and their role in domestic violence
- Sexual violence in and after conflict
- Political violence against women, including Pre/During/Post-election violence
- Sexual and gender based violence committed by the police and armed forces
This campaign actively supports the priorities of government to empower women, in particular rural women grappling with the challenge of unemployment and poverty; and protects the rights of the child.
During the campaign, government will mobilise communities around the national effort to reduce arms in society, which tend to be the common denominator in many cases of domestic violence.
While there is slight improvement, the levels of physical, emotional and sexual abuse experienced by women and children remain unacceptably high. The recently released Crime Statistics 2010/2011 indicated that:
- With the exception of the murder of adult women which increased by 5, 6% and sexual offences against children (younger than 18 years) which increased by 2, 6%.
- All other social contact crimes against women and children decreased by margins of between -29, 4% and -0, 8%. This is in quite sharp contrast to 2009/2010, when in most cases significant increases in social contact crimes against women and children were recorded.
- Sexual offences in general indicates a ratio decrease of -4, 4%, from 138.5 sexual offences per 100 000 of the RSA population in 2009/2010 to 132.4 per 100 000 in 2010/2011. This represents a decrease of 2 136 cases, from 68 332 to 66 196.
- The ongoing rape of members of the gay and lesbian community is a crime that will not be tolerated. The criminal justice system will deal harshly with the perpetrators of these so-called “corrective rape” crimes.
- A person who kills and extracts body-parts has not only committed murder but has violated human rights. There is nothing that can drive a person to commit such horrible crimes against women and children as there are no benefits to be derived from imithi with human body parts.
- MEC Soviet Lekganyane hands over houses during 16 Days of Activism, 30 Nov
- Eastern Cape Social Development launches 16 Days of Activism campaign, 28 Nov
- MEC Faith Mazibuko conducts outreach programme in commemoration of 16 Days of Activism, 26 Nov
- Premier Hazel Jenkins launches 16 Days of Activism campaign, 25 Nov
- Minister Lulu Xingwana hosts opening ceremony of 16 Days of Activism, 25 Nov
- Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and Gender Equality commemorate 16 Days of Activism, 25 Nov
- Free State Provincial Government launches 16 Days of Activism Campaign, 25 Nov
- Minister Lulu Xingwana launches 16 Days of Activism Campaign, 24 Nov
- Launch of the 16 Days of Activism campaign, 25 Nov
- Media calendar
- Speeches and statements on 16 Days of Activism
- Mpumalanga Provincial Government events
- Wear your White Ribbon from 25 November to 10 December 2011 to show your support.
- Speak out against woman and child abuse. Encourage silent female victims to talk about abuse and ensure that they get help. Report child abuse to the police immediately. Encourage children to report bullying behaviour to school authorities.
- Volunteer for non-governmental organisations and community groups who support abused women and children. Use your life skills and knowledge to help support victims of abuse.
- Contact your local police station to find out how you can join a community policing forum and help create safer and functioning communities.
- Men are critical partners in the fight against the abuse of women and children
- Families must stick together to create safe environment for women and children.
- Parents and adults can make sure that children are not exposed to sexual and violent material such as pornography.
- Make a contribution to the Foundation for Human Rights, which receive money raised during the campaign and distribute it to non-governmental organisations. Contact them at tel: 011 339 5560/1/2/3/4/5.
- Engage in online dialogues such as the Cyber Dialogues organised by Gender Links which provides a platform to share issues and experiences and offer solutions. Professional experts in the caring professions participate in the on-line chat room.
- Get connected with important contacts and information published on www.womensnet.org.za.
- According to the International Action Network on Small Arms (ANSA) Women’s Network, women are three times more likely to die violently if there is a gun in the homes. Report illegal guns to SAPS.
- Participate in the various 16 Days of Activism events and activities: Watch this page for a calendar outlining events taking place around the country over the period of the 16 days.
What is Government doing?
- Government is establishing a Council on Violence against Women and Children. The Advisory Council will comprise of key government departments, civil society organisations and other relevant partners. It will coordinate comprehensive initiatives implemented to stop the scourge.
- The proposed Gender Equality Bill will provide government with the legislative authority to fast-track the empowerment of women and address issues of enforcement and compliance towards the attainment of our target of 50/50 gender parity. The final Draft Bill will be submitted to Cabinet for approval by March 2012.
- Development of a barometer to measure the number of women who will benefit from the five million jobs that we seek to create in the next 10 years under the New Growth Path, will highlight the high impact of unemployment on women.
- Government provides support to children to fight child poverty. We currently have more than 10,5 million children who benefit from the child support grant, while we provide foster care benefits to over 563 000 vulnerable children. Government subsidises close to 800 000 children at early childhood development centres to enable children from poor households to obtain early education. In addition, more than eight million children at primary and secondary schools benefit from school-feeding schemes.
- On 6 June 2011, Government launched the Strategy and Guidelines on Children Working and Living in the Streets [PDF]. This Strategy provides guidance on the services and programmes to be rendered to children living and working in the streets.
- The Expanded Public Works Programme and a community works programme provide short-term employment opportunities while also responding to pressing community challenges.
- The Green Paper on Families [PDF] seeks to strengthen and support families as the cornerstone of a well-functioning society.
- Government led a national Rural Women’s Summit in May 2011 to empower women with information on how to access various departmental programmes. With the help of Government, women in Tzaneen run successful farms, mining as well as arts and crafts projects. These projects employ a number of people and their products are sold in domestic and foreign markets.
- Since 1994, Government has developed several pieces of legislation to redress the wrongs affecting women and children.
Where to get help
- What if you are abused [PDF]
- Counselling and support for women
- National Crisis Helpline (Lifeline) 0861 322 322
- Stop Gender-Based Violence Helpline 0800 150 150
- People Opposed to Women Abuse 011 642 4345/6
- Family and Marriage Society of South Africa 011 975 7106/7
- Counselling and support for children
- Childline 0800 055 555
- Social Security
- Child support grants 0800 601 011
- Marie Stopes clinics 0800 11 77 85
- Depression and Anxiety Group 011 262 6396
- AIDS Helpline 0800 012 322
- AID for AIDS 0860 100 646
- Legal assistance
- Legal Aid Board 0800 110 110
- Lawyers for Human Rights 011 339 1960
- Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation 011 403 5650
- South African Police Service
- Suicide Crisis Line 0800 567 567
- Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences units were established in all 176 policing areas. Police officers have been trained to deal with these cases with the sensitivity they deserve. Forensic social workers are hired to assist child victims in particular to submit evidence necessary to support conviction.