16 Days of Activism against Abuse

From the 25 November until the 10 December, South Africa takes part in a global  campaign called “16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign.”

To be honest, this campaign irks me a bit.

Not because I support the abuse of women, children or any other form of abuse (I most certainly don’t) but by the fact that a mere 16 days is set aside to make people aware of the seriousness of women and child abuse in South Africa and to “attract all South Africans to be active in the fight to eradicate violence against women and children.”

Is 16 days really enough to make a difference to the rising number of incidences of violence against women and children?

At least once a day, I read a story of a child having been raped or murdered. Just yesterday, a baby was burnt with boiling chicken broth by another man (not certain who the man is at this stage).

I also read an article about children being bullied, about the assault being caught on camera and yet the police and school did nothing about it.

This morning I read an article about a woman having been thrown with acid by her ex who had been stalking her. After he threw acid on her and whilst she was in hospital, he sent her threatening smses promising to finish the job. The police refused to take her statement initially and only took it two weeks later and now the suspect is at large.

In the week, a six year old girl was raped by a thirteen year old boy. The rape has been going on for quite some time and the little girl actually thinks the boy is her boyfriend.

These are just some of the stories that we read and hear on a daily basis in South Africa.

What difference is 16 days of activism going to make? Has the violence against women and children decreased since last year? I suspect not.

Unless the eradication of violence against women and children is pursued actively and on a daily basis, we will continue to see the rise in the rape, murder and abuse of our women and children.

The first step is to ensure that the police take the allegations of abuse seriously and not wait weeks to take statements and to pursue the suspects. It is not sufficient to simply advise an abused woman to obtain a domestic violence interdict. The abuser often ignores those pieces of paper and the abuse continues. In fact, police often refuse to even make arrests on domestic violence orders.

We need special courts that deal exclusively with rape and abuse cases. At this stage, perpetrators take years to go on trial and more often than not, the police have done such a poor job of the investigation that the perpetrator goes free. Sentences for these crimes should be harsher  and certainly not the mentality that we are seeing when the court says that “ the 11 year old enjoyed being raped  and was a “willing victim” because she never told anyone and accepted the gifts he bought her.”

We need a justice system and police force that works and that sends out a strong message to perpetrators that abuse and violence against women and children will not be tolerated.

To be honest, I don’t even think that most people give a second thought to the 16 days of activism campaign.



10 thoughts on “16 Days of Activism against Abuse

  1. Oh my, yes indeed. I live in the US and we have the very same issues here. We need to be reminded *daily* of the horrific outcome of domestic/child abuse; 16 days isn’t nearly enough. Our justice system needs overhauling, as well. So many times the abused are treated worse than the perpetrators. My own daughter was abused by her last boyfriend. He was arrested and scheduled for trial when she died (unrelated to the abuse). The case was dismissed because she wasn’t here to testify!! How messed up is that? He was drunk – on parole – and nearly killed her. Now he can live his life as if it never happened. SMH.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so sorry to hear this. It terrible how the perpetrators can just go on with their lives while the victims of abuse and their families have to live with it for the rest of their lives. I am so sorry for your loss.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, on the bright side, 16 days is better than no days at all. Behavior like this has been going on since the dawn of civilization and change will take time. We have the same problem in the states and domestic violence recently became a hot topic here due to an NFL player knocking his fiance unconscious on tape. It’s sad that THAT is what it took to bring the topic front and center, but at least it’s finally there.


    1. I certainly agree that at least it’s something but I feel that in a country like South Africa where rape of babies and children is rife, where violence against women is rife and when it is reported the police doing nothing and the court system blames the victim, then I feel that it is not enough.
      I don’t think that people take it seriously and I have in fact seen other campaigns receive more publicity than what this campaign does!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We are the continuation of these short campaigns…keep shining a light on the issue everyday. I keep a domestic violence awareness magnet on each car, wear a button to work each day, and wear the t-shirt when I am going to be among a crowd. It may not be as powerful as the PSA and news campaigns, but as more people keep shining that light, it doesn’t just disappear the other 349 days💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right. I just feel that we aren’t doing enough and that the campaign is not doing enough. Even more so, when every day I read another horror story. Thanks for your comment!


  4. I laugh (almost) every single year, when our ‘president’ announces the start of the 16 days of activism. What a joke. Especially when he himself was had up on a rape charge. But anyway, I digress. I have read all of the articles that you listed above and it’s shocking. Our children are not safe, not by a long shot. And as much as there is a lot of women abuse, there has been such a substantial rise in violence and abuse towards children, and it’s sickening. I don’t understand how someone can get off raping a 3 month old, a 3 year old, a 6 year old. And don’t even get me started on raping a 90 year old!

    I fully agree with your post. There is not enough focus on this campaign, and it most certainly should not be a once a year, 16 days a year campaign. This should be dealt with every single day, of every single year until it is eradicated.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. All your points are very valid and I used to believe the same thing and in fact I have the same feeling about most awareness campaigns. The current one that comes to mind is the Movember one – how many of those men “supporting” the cause have actually gone and had a prostate test. How many of us wear pink ribbons but have never had a mammogram.
    However, people don’t like to talk about the abuse of women and children, I mean really talk about it and confront it head on and this campaign forces the ugliness of it into every home. 16 days is definitely not long enough – but perhaps in those 16 days it makes someone so uncomfortable that they report the abuse of a child that they have silently watched being abused for years. It might give the child being molested the courage to tell a teacher it is happening to her/him and the knowledge that it is wrong and not her/his fault that it is happening.
    So for that reason it is one of the very few causes I support, but you are so right what happens next. What happens after the woman leaves the abusive relationship. Where to now and this campaign should address that and we can only hope that it does


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