Many thanks to all the contributors who made this online dialogue a success. I’ve stopped counting the number of organisations and individual contributors, but on average, I expect to publish at least 5 new posts for the duration of the blog party. And yes, there is still time for you to participate. Email the link to your post to firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the 16 Days campaign about?
I like the way writer Moira Richards takes us back to the history of the campaign. She says: “In 1981, November 25 was marked as International Day against Violence against Women. The world adopted the White Ribbon as symbol that violence against women is just not acceptable and since 1991, the commemoration has been extended into the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence – to draw the world's attention to the fact that women's rights are basic human rights. Read the full post.
Sounds nice, but who needs another campaign?
Anonymous tells a very heartbreaking story of how the South African criminal justice system and the 16 Days campaign have failed her.
She says: “The slogans seem the same, the new songs that you hear only once off, the promises, it’s all the same but it’s all in vain. Men still beat their partners, there is still a large number of violence, rape cases, and statutory rapes that go unreported or are reported but the perpetrators are free.” The the full post.
Lisa Vetten, director of Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre, acknowledges the bitter truth of Anonymous’s story. She says: “Particular thresholds have been established to create a hierarchy of horror, with only the most brutal of acts attracting attention and rendering the less savage ordinary in comparison. Focusing on the all-too common failures of the criminal justice system also leaves people helpless and thinking there is nothing they can do about abuse.” Lisa also offers practical advice on what we can all do to make a difference, so that 16 Days lives up to our communities’ expectations and needs. Read her article here.
Making a difference
Talk about it
As I've previously mentioned, I’m currently working with Shukumisa, a national campaign which aims to get South Africans talking about violence against women and children, and specifically, about rape. Shukumisa is run by more than 26 NGOs. Here are some of their activities during the 16 Days campaign:
The Thinking Forum: The Mail & Guardian hosted a panel discussion yesterday, asking “Gender Violence: Is The Media Part Of The Problem Or Part Of The Solution?” What do you think?
In her article entitled ‘Who To Blame,” Sarah Haken, a researcher at the Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre, uses the example of the media’s handling of the Jules High School alleged rape incident to show that the media is part of the problem.
Do you agree with her? Who do you think is to blame for our children being more sexually active too early, for incidents such as happened at Jules High School?
The association for Transcriptionists and Virtual Assistants of South Africa (TAVASA) is also planning an online chat on the 1 December, from 15h00 - 16h00. Basically, members are going to talk about the challenges that women face when they are involved in an abusive relationship ( especially when they rely on their partner to support them and their children) and how starting a business online can be an important step in getting out of the abusive relationship.
|Stop the bus campaign in 2009|
For example, Rape Crisis Cape Town is sending two busses to travel through the Western Cape, carrying volunteer trainers, community activists and counselors, who will conduct workshops, hold networking meetings, do door to door visits, train and counsel community members. This is part of the organisation's annual Stop the bus campaign.
The Women on Farms Project is also sending field officers to visit communities it serves to distribute educational materials and hold workshops as part of their 16 Days plan of action.
And don't forget - you too can make a difference.
More posts coming in the coming days. Check out the Shukumisa web site for our comprehensive, up-to-date coverage of the 16 Days campaign.