Markham will be making limited-edition Relate Help! Don’t Harm bracelets available at selected stores. Picture: Supplied

Despite growing consciousness and President Cyril Ramaphosa declaring gender-based violence a national crisis, femicide, domestic abuse, sexual violence, harassment and prejudice persist and are in many instances engrained within the fabric of our society. 

According to StatsSA, a similarly toxic pattern of attitudes towards domestic violence exists between men and women across the country, with comparably similar levels among both genders believing it is acceptable for a man to hit a woman.

In an active effort to educate and inclusively incite a change in these disturbing attitudes, men’s fashion retailer Markham, in partnership with 100% not-for-profit social enterprise Relate has launched the Help! Don’t Harm campaign ahead of the 16 Days of Activism initiative. 

Both organisations say their aim is to raise R100 000 for MenCare –  a global fatherhood campaign that promotes men's active, equitable, non-violent involvement and responsibility as fathers and caregivers around the world. 

In South Africa Sonke Gender Justice implements MenCare through educational sessions with fathers and couples to promote gender equality in the home and improve overall family well-being.

Markham will be making limited-edition Relate Help! Don’t Harm bracelets available at selected stores across the country during the 16 Days of Activism period.

Markham’s Head of Marketing, Nicol Rademeyer believes that South Africa’s culture of advocacy and desire for positive social change will assist the Help! Don’t Harm campaign reach its target. It is our responsibility as men of this country to stand together, enforce change and assure a brighter future for all.

"As an organisation, Markham is taking a stand against gender-based violence and abuse. We’re proud to be adding our voice in advocating and acting against gender-based violence in South Africa and around the world," said Rademeyer, who added that proceeds will be channelled to MenCare through Markham’s M.E.N CSI project.

"So many of us have family, friends and colleagues who have been and continue to be victims of violence and abuse. Our customers now have this wonderful opportunity to stand with us and show their support for Help! Don’t Harm, by wearing a bracelet and helping us to reach our target of raising R100 000 for gender based violence prevention initiatives." Rademeyer continued.

Relate CEO Neil Robinson believes that the active participation of the public is crucial in changing such attitudes towards gender-based violence. "Awareness and education isn’t simply about preaching to people - we all have a responsibility to become involved and influence our fellow South Africans for the better," Robinson argued.

"16 Days of Activism is a vitally important campaign that every member of society needs to buy into, not only for this specific number of days, but for every day throughout every year. 

"Our bracelets are made by senior citizens from desperately impoverished backgrounds, many of whom have been the victims of gender-based violence within their communities. This is a scourge that seems to endure from one generation to the next," he concluded.

For more information about 16 Days of Activism, visit www.gov.za/16DaysofActivism2019