25 November 2011

The 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Children Abuse kick off today

Themed, for 2011, ‘From peace in the home to peace in the world', this campaign partly seeks to root out violence against women and children. These vulnerable groups have been subjected to dreadful violent crimes committed against them in many societies around the world which necessitates such initiatives.

It is an annual international campaign aimed at addressing issues of domestic violence and bringing about change in people's attitudes and mindsets about gender-based violence, and violence against helpless children. It runs from today, the 25th of November to the 10th of December, which is International Human Rights Day. This was a deliberate arrangement of dates in order to emphasize that violence is a human rights violation matter.

A few other significant dates fall within this period, notably, World Aids Day on the 1st of December, which is aimed at uniting people in the fight against HIV/AIDS and to remember those who have perished as a result of this pandemic.
The broader focus of the campaign centers around the following:

• raising awareness at the local, regional, national and international levels about gender-based violence, or violence against vulnerable groups i.e. children;
• strengthening local work;
• linking local and global work;
• providing a forum for dialogue and strategy-sharing;
• pressuring governments to implement commitments made in national and international legal instruments; and,
• demonstrating the solidarity of activists around the world.
While the campaign runs for only 16 days each year, its objectives are hoped to be reinforced the whole year round.

The South African Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities, spoke strongly against criminals who abuse these groups and suggested harsher punishment for such perpetrators.
"I believe that those people raping and murdering women and children should not be given the option of bail. Those people should be given tougher sentences which work as a deterrent to would be murderers and would be rapists," she said in parliament.

Seemingly, South Africa is still stumbling on a rough path in rooting out violence against women and children, this year's crime statistics painted a grim picture - an increase in sexual offences such as rape and indecent assault involving women and children. There has also been an increase in murder cases against women, revealing an unsavoury reality.
Hopefully this campaign will help curb such occurrences.