SA to mark 16 Days of Activism

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pretoria - South Africa will tomorrow join the rest of the world in kicking off the 16 Days of Activism Campaign on No Violence against Women and Children.

The opening event will be held in Atteridgeville in Pretoria.

The campaign aims to make people aware of the negative impact of violence on women and children and to act against abuse.

On Friday, events to mark the start of the campaign will include the launch of a Green Door Campaign. During the Green Door campaign, private homes and community facilities are identified as sites where victims of violence can turn to in times of need.

"The victims are referred to appropriate services such as police or social services within a few hours/overnight," Minister for Women and Children and People with Disabilities, Lulu Xingwana, told a media briefing on Thursday.

Xingwana said she was encouraged by progress in the efforts of government to combat crime as confirmed by the decrease in the number of serious crimes in the country over the past year.

However, the minister was concerned that the combined figures of all sexual offences, including rape and indecent assault, indicated an upward trend of 2.1% in 2010/11 compared to 2009/2010.

Cases of murder of women increased by 5.6% and sexual offences against children increased by 2.6% during this period.

"We are confident that the strengthening of law enforcement measures, particularly the re-establishment of Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) units within the SAPS will assist in turning the tide against these crimes," she said.

The ministry has also organised several events and programmes to mark the month under the theme, "From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Proliferation of Small Arms and their Role in Domestic Violence".

Some of the events include the establishment of the National Council against Gender Based Violence to coordinate a multi-sectoral response to this scourge, and drive the 365 National Action Plan to End Violence against Women and Children.

"This should streamline our national effort and enhance the impact of programmes to stop violence and abuse. Because of the priority that government places on addressing violence against women and children, the council will be chaired by the Deputy President," said Xingwana.

A memorial park will be established in honour of Masego Kgomo, a 10 year-old girl from Soshanguve, who was allegedly raped and murdered and had her body parts removed for muti purposes.

According to Xingwana, they will also meet with traditional healers and other stakeholders to discuss measures that need to be taken to stop incidents of ritual or muti killing.

The department will also focus on another harmful cultural practice called ukuthwala (forced marriage of girls to older men), which has affected many children.

The campaign will also cover the challenge of attacks on lesbian women.

"We will seek to raise community awareness about the need to address this practice termed 'corrective rape', which is a violation of Constitutional right to sexual orientation."

Other key days commemorated during this 16-day period include World Aids Day on 1 December in Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape and the International Day for Persons with Disabilities on 3 December, which will take place in Mangaung, in the Free State.

The closing event for the 16 Days Campaign, which will be held in Ermelo, Mpumalanga on 10 December, will be addressed by the Deputy President.

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