16 Days of Activism: End Violence, Empower Women

16 Days of Activism: End Violence, Empower Women

Date: November 24, 2017
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Johannesburg, 24 November: Gender Links (GL) joins the world in commemorating Sixteen Days of Activism on Violence Against Women and Children from 25 November to 10 December. This year’s celebrations are under the global theme “Together We Can End Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Education!” GL’s campaign expands the theme to End Violence, Empower Women by 2030! , Speak Up, Speak Out!

This year’s celebrations come amidst chilling revelations of sexual harassment cases against an increasing list of actors and influential leaders in the esteemed Hollywood industry and in politics through the #MeToo campaign. that has amplified the voices of many survivors. Offshoots of the campaign across the world have helped hundreds of thousands of survivors to find their voice. These movements are challenging the normalisation and silencing of GBV from the most powerful places in society right into the home.

South Africa achieved a first when the Deputy Minister of Education Mduduzi Manana resigned and was recently subsequently convicted in court for assaulting three young women in a restaurant. “It’s a small step in a massive sea of abuse, but it’s a start,” said GL CEO Colleen Lowe Morna. “The message is simple. No form of violence against women is acceptable. We must root this evil out of our homes, our public places, our politics, our customs, culture, religion, media and social media.”

Despite the significant strides made in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region to respond to GBV, it remains one of the most pervasive human rights violations and a major obstacle to achieving gender equality.

The updated SADC Protocol on Gender and Development adopted by Heads of State in August 2016, following a civil society campaign spearheaded by the Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance moved from “halving” GBV to “eliminating” GBV by 2030.

SADC is a region marred by high levels of gender inequality reflected in the equally high levels of GBV across its countries. GL’s Violence Against Women (VAW) Baseline Studies in seven SADC countries form part of a research project aimed at measuring the extent, drivers, effect, cost, prevention, protection, programmes and participation in the fight against GBV in the region. It is estimated that one in three women have experienced violence of some kind, whether physical, sexual, economic or emotional.

GL has been at the forefront of the campaign to extend the Sixteen Days to 365 Days of Activism. The region needs strengthened and coordinated efforts between women’s rights groups, government, citizens, private sector and other key stakeholders as well as concrete actions  in changing attitudes, destabilising the patriarchal culture and ending GBV in our societies.

GL has continued to contribute to changing the lives of over 1000 GBV survivors, through its Entrepreneurship Training Programme across the region aimed at economically empowering women, helping them to increase their self-confidence, agency and independence. Rebranded the Sunrise Campaign, this programme to test the link between economic empowerment and sustainable solutions to GBV offers new hope to survivors of violence.

In the upcoming campaign, GL seeks to sensitise community members and key stakeholders on economic violence and the importance of empowerment. It calls on people across the region to empower themselves and others; help advance peace in the home and on the streets; and ensure we end GBV and achieve gender equality.

GL and partners will host numerous events across the region, most notably a local government summit in Mozambique, online dialogues including webinars and a Tweet chat on GBV and launching the Gender Links Community of Practice for gender activists. This virtual platform will be for active online engagements, peer learning and sharing amongst likeminded organisation and individuals in to influence knowledge, behaviour change and policy reforms.

The Gender Links News and Blogs will continue to give a fresh view on everyday news sending out daily opinion editorial pieces from journalists and activists across the region.

End Violence, empower women by 2030!

For more information and media interviews contact Tarisai Nyamweda on +27 27 11 209 0006/ 27 11 028 2410/ media@genderlinks.org.za OR visit our website and Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

One thought on “16 Days of Activism: End Violence, Empower Women”

Redges Muleya says:

Ending of violence in any given society comes in as a tool to liberate women. Liberated women then can operate in safe spaces of their businesses and eventually get emancipated and improve the lives of their family members and community as whole. The theme for this year is timely amidst increased Gender based Violence especially in Zambia where couples are killing each other sometimes due high poverty levels in the country.

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