A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water. A more true saying you won’t be able to find, especially when it comes to violence against women and children in South Africa. From 25 November to 10 December each year, the 16 Days of Activism Campaign focusing on the violence against women and children is set in motion to create awareness worldwide. This campaign aims to open the nation’s eyes to the negative impact that violence and abuse have on these demographics.
Statistic South Africa’s in-depth analysis of the Victims of Crime Survey for 2018, is nauseating, to say the absolute least. Rape, targeting women and girls, is like a plague. The 2016/17 Victims of Crime statistical release, reported that 250 out of every 100 000 women were victims of sexual offences compared to 120 out of every 100 000 men!
Using the 2016/17 South African Police Service statistics, in which 80% of the reported sexual offences were rape, together with Statistics South Africa’s estimate that 68,5% of the sexual offences victims were women, we obtain a crude estimate of the number of women raped per 100 000 as 138. This is one of the highest figures in the world!
What can we do however to combat these frightening statistics? The success of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign, rests solely on the shoulders of individuals. We need to encourage female victims whose voices were taken away, to talk about abuse and ensure that they go through the correct channels to get the help they need and deserve. Child abuse always needs to be reported to the police, no matter how difficult it is. It is always easier to turn a blind eye, but always ask yourself – what if it was your child? Wouldn’t you want someone to speak up for them?
When it comes to the educational environment teachers need to be aware of bullies and the long-lasting effects that this has. In a survey conducted way back in 2013, 57% of children claimed that they suffer at the hands of bullies in school. This is a shocking form of a abuse that is so often overlooked. Encourage children at school to talk about it and report it to the right people. Men and boys also have the responsibility to speak up against violence and take a stance against those who so often step out of line. Cursing or swearing at women is not okay. It takes one male to stand up and do the right thing. Neither man nor woman is perfect or complete without the other! Be the example!