Turn­ing the tide against abuse

Public Sector Manager - - Fmeeastsuargee From The Minister -

It is of­ten said that the true test of any so­ci­ety is in how it treats its most vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers. In South Africa, there are none more vul­ner­a­ble than our women and chil­dren.

Ev­ery day we read and hear of the hor­rific abuse en­dured by women and chil­dren from across the coun­try, of all races, ages, back­grounds and so­cial stand­ings.

And these are just the in­ci­dents that make it to the me­dia and are re­ported on – there are many more that we will never hear about.

Much fo­cus will be placed on women and child abuse this month and next, as the 16 Days of Ac­tivism for No Vi­o­lence Against Women and Chil­dren Cam­paign, from 25 Novem­ber (In­ter­na­tional Day for the Elim­i­na­tion of Vi­o­lence Against Women) to 10 De­cem­ber (In­ter­na­tional Hu­man Rights Day), gets un­der­way.

The cam­paign is led by the De­part­ment of Women and was adopted in 1998 as a con­crete in­ter­ven­tion to cre­ate a so­ci­ety free of vi­o­lence.

We are well aware that in­ter­ven­tions to curb women and child abuse need to go be­yond the du­ra­tion of this cam­paign, as the abuse suf­fered is a re­al­ity through­out the year.

It is for this very rea­son the De­part­ment of Women also launched the “365 Days for No Vi­o­lence Against Women and Chil­dren” ini­tia­tive.

Na­tional and provin­cial dia­logues that as­sist the De­part­ment of Women and govern­ment to best un­der­stand the na­ture and causes of the scourge of femi­cide, rape and vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren, in or­der to in­form govern­ment's re­sponse and course of ac­tion form part of the ini­tia­tive.

The clean­ing of crime hotspots, so­cial me­dia cam­paigns and part­ner­ships with var­i­ous sec­tors of so­ci­ety are other el­e­ments of the cam­paign.

Other govern­ment depart­ments, in­clud­ing Po­lice and Jus­tice and Con­sti­tu­tional De­vel­op­ment, also lead the fight against women and child abuse daily.

While govern­ment is do­ing its bit, our work will never be done un­til we rid our coun­try of the hor­rors of abuse. Such an ef­fort goes be­yond govern­ment.

Let's not for­get the re­spon­si­bil­ity each of us has, out­side our work in govern­ment – as in­di­vid­u­als and hu­man be­ings – to take a stand against abuse.

The abuse of women and chil­dren oc­curs in homes, fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties.This means that some­one – a neigh­bour, sis­ter, brother, un­cle, aunt, col­league, teacher or priest, the list is end­less – has some idea of the abuse a wo­man or child is be­ing sub­jected to. Some­one sees the bruises and tears or hears the cries.

We can­not turn a blind eye to the pain in­flicted on those around us. We need to speak up and help out when the op­por­tu­nity arises.

Con­tact the au­thor­i­ties to re­port the abuse and make the vic­tim aware that they are not alone and that help is avail­able.There are a num­ber of govern­ment and non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tions that are will­ing and ready to as­sist.

The De­part­ment of So­cial De­vel­op­ment, for in­stance, has a 24-hour toll-free Gen­der-based Vi­o­lence Com­mand Cen­tre that pro­vides tele­phonic coun­selling to vic­tims of gen­der-based vi­o­lence. All a per­son has to do is call the cen­tre on 0800 428 428 or dial *120*7867# from a cell­phone to be con­tacted by a so­cial worker.

We need to make the women and chil­dren of South Africa aware that they are not alone in their sit­u­a­tions, there are peo­ple who care and want to help – you and I need to be counted among them.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.

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