Thursday, 10 December 2009

The end of another ‘16 days of activism abuse campaign’?

South Africans embark on the 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Children Abuse from the 25th of November every year.

Why 16 days and not 365 days, I wonder.

One, I must say, was saddened by the SA FM earlier during its 5 pm bulletin news today when it reported South African President Jacob Zuma’s address/speech as the ‘end’ of the 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Childress Abuse at QwaQwa Campus, Free State University.

It was further disappointing that Zuma himself saw the address as his official closing of the campaign while at the same time saying that: “the fight itself against the abuse of women and children should carry on for the entire 365 days of the year.

The 16 days, according to Zuma during his address/speech, has also become endorsed as International Day of No violence against women with this year’s theme "Don’t Look Away, Stop Abuse".

We also recently marked World Aids, on the 1st of December at the Tshwane Events Centre. The day's activities allowed for an increased focus on the link between sexual violence and the spread of HIV infection as well as incidents of abuse experienced by persons with disabilities.

“As you know this year marks the 10-year anniversary of the 16 Days Campaign in South Africa. It should be well-known that we are pleased that this Government and the past ANC administrations have been steadfast in creating an environment conducive to the empowerment of women and children, particularly the girl-child. This has resulted in progressive legislation that guarantees the promotion and protection of human rights in general, but women's rights in particular

While these measures have generally impacted positively on their [women and children] lives, said Zuma, we nevertheless acknowledge that a number of challenges still remain.

These exist both in implementation as well as in transforming societal attitudes and harmful practices that manifest themselves negatively against women and the girl child”.

Although Zuma said government "has placed legislation to redress the wrongs affecting women and children in particular," this does not help address the abuse that many of the country’s men experience and instead, it may be seen by some in our society as condoning it - men abuse - or that government is discriminating against these poor men.

It would be advisable that all people – men, women and children experiencing abuse of any sort, or know of someone who does – should be included during these campaigns and not alienated and or discriminated against for they are of the opposite sex as it seems to be the case presently.

I would like to appeal to the country to work together to prevent cases of abuse, to ensure that perpetrators face the full might of the law and that survivors get the support needed for them to deal with the trauma, said Zuma during his address today.

He further ‘appeal [led] to the country to work together to prevent cases of abuse, to ensure that perpetrators face the full might of the law and that survivors get the support needed for them to deal with the trauma’ and that we should work for a South Africa ‘where women and children can walk the streets of our country with no fear of being attacked’... thus ensuring that ‘all our people enjoy freedom, security and respect for their human rights.’

Our Bill of Rights also ensures the foundation for a non-sexist and human rights based society, which has been incorporated into the transformation agenda of Government”.

And while this may be the case, we have however shown little thereof. More than this and just like some would agree – this must be an everyday event that should not even the ‘officially’ end or be marked as such as this will pass on the wrong message to the larger part of the society.

And to all you lot of there, real Men (Brothers, Uncles, Cousins, Grandfathers) do not rape, let alone this about it!

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