International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women,
Creating a society on 25 November brings a global focus on a very pervasive violation of the rights of women to a life free from fear and violence.
It is appropriate that the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children,
a period of heightened campaigning against women and child abuse, concludes on 10 December, International Human Rights Day.
The world also marks Universal Children’s Day on 20 November and World Aids Day on 1 December during this time. South Africa adopted the international 16 Days Campaign in 1998 and included no violence against children as an intervention strategy towards creating a society free of violence.
The white ribbon symbolizes our stand against rape including statutory rape, women and child abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking, femicide, and all other forms of violence against women.
Violence against women and children takes place in wealthy suburbs, housing estates, townships and informal settlements, in our homes, our workplaces, on farms and in towns.
However, we still hear various justifications for violence against women – its cultural practice; she must accept my authority; she asked for it; she said no but meant yes; she led me on.
There is no justification for violence against another person, except in the case of genuine self-defence.
Violence can be a response to damage done by personal, emotional, social and/or economic deprivation and inequality.
It is often a practice learnt from others who chose to live by violence, often caused by being the victim of violence oneself, or by a feeling of devastating personal disempowerment.
Most fundamentally, it is a refl ection of a complete lack of respect for another human being.
Rape is not a crime of lust or sexual urge – it is a crime of power, abuse and humiliation.
Creating a society It is a refl ection of a deep social illness or disease and violation of another person’s human rights.
Protecting the vulnerable We reach out to all fellow South Africans to heed the call to prevent violence of any sort, but particularly against those most vulnerable in society.
These include women, children, the elderly, those living with albinism, those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-gender and inter-sex communities.
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