Don’t look away from gender violence

The annual 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign started on Friday November 25 and runs until Saturday December 10. The international campaign raises awareness of the violence against women and children does to society.

The white ribbon you see on our masthead this week – which we will run for the duration of the campaign – is a symbol of Sentinel’s support for this cause.

This year, parent company Inde- pendent Media, has also launched its Don’t Look Away campaign which will run parallel to the 16 Days of Activism. To show our support for the campaign, all Independent staff will wear orange or paint the nail of their index finger orange, which is the colour used by the UN to symbolise a brighter future without violence.

Spotlight on gender justice

During the 16 Days of Activism, Sonke Gender Justice will be running it’s #Safe Campaign to suggest a range of concrete strategies on how society can become gender equitable and violence-free.

“To address the scourge of gender-based violence in South Africa, during 16 Days of Activism and beyond, Sonke continues its call on government to urgently adopt and implement a fully costed, multi-sectoral
and coordinated national strategic plan on cender-based violence,” Sonke Gender Justice said.

Sonke’s #Safe Campaign will focus on the following advocacy demands:

* Ban corporal punishment

* Decriminalise sex work

* Make public transport safer

* Reduce overcrowding and unsafe conditions in prisons

* Strengthen gun and alcohol laws

* Pass hate crimes legislation

* Provision of psycho-social support to survivors of gender-based violence and children exposed to it

* Address the harmful gender norms that drive the spread of HIV.

“Whole of society” approach

The Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) says it will be taking a whole-of-society approach to combating the abuse of women and children, having prioritised the development and protection of the province’s 1.7million children and 2.1million women “beyond this 16 day commemorative period”.

In a statment, the department said that the children and families programme and the victim empowerment sub-programme it provided key services to women and children at risk 365 days a year.

The programmes received a combined budget of R654.2 million, which had enabled the department to implement many projects.

* The department recently launched the 10-bed Safehaven facility in Noordhoek, bringing to 16 the number of shelters in the Western Cape for abused women and children.

* The 100-bed Khuseleka Centre (the Saartjie Baartman Shelter) expanded and launched a new residential wing and drug treatment facility, that allows it to treat addicted abuse victims and babies with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

* The office of the MEC launched the Social Make-over Project that targeted 20 unskilled and unemployed women to complete an intensive 10-week personal development and empowerment programme.

During this year’s 16 Days of Activism campaign the department and MEC Albert Fritz, will embark on numerous events to commemorate the period.

Report any cases of abuse of women and children to social workers at re-
gional or local offices, or by con-
tacting the DSD hotline on 0800 220