16 Days of Activism: Moving a non-violent SA forward

Friday, November 21, 2014

Pretoria – “Imagine living in a society where we no longer read or hear about the abuse that women and children often suffer at the hands of heartless perpetrators.”

These were the words of Minister in the Presidency for Women, Susan Shabangu, as she addressed a debate on the 16 Days of Activism for no Violence Against Women and Children in Parliament on Friday.

Parliament hosted a Joint Sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces to debate the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. The debate was held under the theme “Count Me In: Together moving a non-violent South Africa forward”.

The Joint Sitting kicked off with the lighting of the torch of peace in the morning and the signing of a pledge by Members of Parliament at the entrance of the National Assembly Building.

This year’s 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children takes place within the broader context of the country’s 20 years of democracy, as well as the 60 years of the Women’s Charter. It also marks the 16th anniversary of the campaign.

Addressing parliamentarians, Minister Shabangu explained that this year’s campaign reflects on 16 years of raising awareness on gender based violence and 20 years of democracy and the empowerment of women.

“One of the achievements of the campaign over the years has been the bringing together of all sectors of the society, including civil society organisations to speak in one voice against this scourge ‘many voices one message’, which then spoke to fighting this scourge of violence for 365 days.

She, however, noted that despite the high level of awareness of the 16 Days Campaign, the pandemic remains a cause for concern in society. Domestic violence continues to be a deadly crime, a social menace, and a costly public health and economic problem.

“The brutal killing of women and children despite laws having been instituted to criminalize brutal behaviour and to improve the safety of women and children, shows that there is a need to move from policy to action and provide stronger focus than ever on prevention and early intervention to support women and children against this scourge,” Minister Shabangu said.

She said that government research institutions such as CSIR have the responsibility to conduct victimology research in order to assist on early detection and prevention.

While it is the primary responsibility of government to provide strong leadership and a coordinated and integrated approach to tackling this scourge, Minister Shabangu said reducing violence against women and children is a shared responsibility across the South African society and cannot be achieved by government alone.

The country will from 25 November to 10 December 2014 commemorate the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children.

The campaign aims to provide a platform to engage all stakeholders across race, gender, age and other divides to commit to collectively fight this scourge in society and to relook at the available strategies on the eradication of violence against women and children.

“This calls for national cohesion. This is not a programme for particular grouping, but a national call because it deals with our integrity,” the Minister said. – SAnews.gov.za

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