The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children is an annual, international campaign to raise awareness across a period from 25 November until 10 December.
The period includes World AIDS Day and International Human Rights Day. One area of focus is activism against the gender based violence that taints communities across the country.
EThekwini Head of Communications, Tozi Mthethwa said that the city has partnered with all spheres of government to inform residents of their rights and the proper channels to report such incidents every year since the inception of the international campaign.
“The annual campaign is cascaded to ward level, and Ward Committees assist in spreading the message. The city also works with law enforcement agencies in order to break the silence. The City continues to condemn acts of crime against women and children and residents are encouraged to continue to report these heinous crimes to the South African Police Service on 10111, said Mthethwa.
The Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF), in association with Info4africa, KwaMuhle Museum and the eThekweni Municipality will launch an exhibition entitled: Breaking the Chains of Gender-Based Violence at the South African Voices HIV Museum at the start of the 16 Days of Activism. AHF policy and advocacy manager, Larissa Klazinga said that the campaign will help to create awareness. “The 16 Days of Activism creates a platform for organisations like AHF and others to educate the public and highlight resources available to survivors,” said Klazinga.
Recognising an undeniable link between gender inequality and HIV infections, AHF has two ongoing interventions to address gender based violence: the Silent Protest, that creates safe spaces for rape survivors; and Girls Act, that educates school learners about sexual and reproductive health and rights and distributes sanitary pads. “Our activities during the 16 Days of Activism allow us to share these initiatives with the general public,” said Klazinga. Open to the public, the educational exhibition that documents 60 years of women’s rights activism highlighting the role women played in the liberation struggle and aims to empower youth to resist rape culture and take on the fight against gender based violence, inspired by those that came before them. The exhibition brings together the threads of women’s struggle against Apartheid with current advocacy against GBV to show how these struggles are connected: they form part of one long march to justice and equality for women. “We realised that unless people know their history and their rights rapists will continue to violate with impunity,” said Klazinga.
Aids Healthcare Foundation – 031 906 0452
Childline KZN – 080 005 5555
Child Welfare Durban and District – 031 312 9313
Jes Foord Foundation (Rape counselling) – 086 133 3449
KZN Network on Violence Against Women – 031 201 9236
The Open Door Crisis Centre – 031 709 2679/084 409 2679 (24-hour support)
LifeLine – 086 132 2322 or 031 312 2323
National Counselling Line – 086 132 2322