Cape Town - A number of celebrities have come out in support of Independent Media’s Don’t Look Away campaign as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Child Abuse on Monday.

Gender activist and founder of Ilitha Labantu organisation, Mandisa Monakali said her experience as a survivor of domestic violence inspired her to help abused women and children.

“As a survivor being involved in domestic violence, I felt that instead of sitting down with my pain, I must turn my struggle into something to empower other women. I started Ilitha Labantu, to show women and children out there that they don’t need to stay in an abusive situation. They must know that they are not alone.

“As a country we need to speak out and look beyond the 16 Days. We need to check whether the 16 Days had an good impact on our people because if we notice that during this time of the year murder cases are getting worse, children being raped and killed, crime is becoming high particularly in these days,” said Monakali.

Radio presenter Tamsyn Lee Brown, 32, who grew up in an abusive family, said: “The campaign touches me so much, because after my parents died I was confused and I was only left with my two siblings. I have experienced the very same problem my mother experienced in my relationship. After I gave birth to my son my boyfriend started discriminating against me, telling me that I look fat and I look ugly. That hurt me a lot emotionally.”

SA model and television presenter Mishka Patel, 24, said it was important to take a stand against women and children abuse. “Two of my friends are in horrible relationships and I am so angry about what is happening to them. At school I was discriminated against just because I was the only tall girl in class. I felt very bad because there was nothing I could do about my height. I just believe and hope that the 16 Days will open the eyes of women and children who are being abused out there.”

SA rugby player Siyabonga “Scarra” Ntubeni said he too had been subject to abuse. “A few weeks ago, I went out with my friends and we bumped into a group of white men. All of a sudden one man said daai’s a gooie k****r’ (that’s a good k****r).

“I couldn’t understand why they would call me that.” He said it was important to highlight abuse against women and children, and all forms of discrimination.

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Cape Argus