Battle against gender based violence is everyone’s business

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mafikeng - The unacceptably high levels of gender based violence in the country require the collective efforts of all South Africans, says Women, Children and People with Disabilities Minister Lulu Xingwana.

Launching the 16 Days of Activism for  No Violence against Women and Children campaign in Mafikeng on Sunday, Xingwana said financial dependency on husbands, fathers, partners and family members increased vulnerability to domestic violence, rape, incest, abuse and murder.

“We believe that the unacceptably high levels of gender based violence require the collective efforts of all South Africans.

“We remain convinced that empowering women will help us win the war against poverty, inequality, unemployment and abuse,” she said.

Xingwana said the scourge of child and women abuse threatened to erode many of the hard-earned gains of the liberation struggle.

She said gender based violence denied women and children their birth rights, adding that it also condemned them to a life of fear and prevented them from being productive members of society.

“I urge all South Africans to join this fight. Let us support all campaigns such as the Vikela Mzansi, Disability Rights Awareness, Sireletsa Bana and Orange Day campaigns throughout the year,” she said.

The 16 Days of Activism campaign

16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children is an annual awareness raising campaign observed globally to reaffirm the commitment to create a society that is safe and secure for women and children.

The purpose of this campaign is to address, assess, monitor, evaluate and promote interventions and programmes that seek to prevent and respond to the scourge of violence against women and children.

Following Sunday’s launch, South Africa and the rest of the world will until December 10 observe the 16 Days of Activism campaign.

2013 marks the 14th anniversary of the campaign, which began in 1999. This year’s campaign is being held under the theme, Vikela Mzansi - Kwanele! Communities united in preventing violence against women and children.  

The campaign strapline remains: Don’t Look Away – Act against Abuse.

Nineteen years into democracy, Xingwana said the country had made significant progress in putting in place legislation, policies and other measures for advancing equality and empowerment of women, children and people with disabilities.

Cabinet has since established an Inter-Ministerial Committee to look into the root causes of violence against women and children, and in addition, pronounced the establishment of the National Council against Gender Based Violence.

South Africa further introduced and strengthened supporting measures, legislation, programmes and institutions for protection and advancement of equality and empowerment of women and children. -