Tomorrow marks the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children in South Africa.
But statistics show that violent crimes against women and children were still a problem.
According to the most recent crime statistics released by the National Minister of Police Bheki Cele, a staggering 881 women and 293 children were killed during the period of July and September this year.
The campaign is observed annually from November 25 and December 10.
However, Cele said on the eve of the 16 day-long awareness campaign that his ministry is motivated by the SA Police Service’s (SAPS) continued successes in bringing perpetrators to book.
“This includes the recent identification and take-down of 27 sexual predators in the country.”
He also welcomed the sentencing of Mario Giusti.
Giusti was handed a 6,400 year jail sentence after being found guilty of more than 1,000 charges of child pornography.
“It is clear, attacks and violence meted on women, children, the elderly and the most vulnerable in this country, remains shameful,” Cele said.
“The scourge of violence against women and children in South Africa must be confronted equally by law enforcement, the whole of government and the whole of society, head on.”
Despite a drop in the murder rate against women and children, Cele said it was most “disturbing” that women and children in this country are not safe around people that they know and trust.
A staggering 14,401 female victims were victims of assault and 1,514 were victims of attempted murder during the three month period.
Over 10,500 rapes were reported, and according to the SAPS, 4,726 rape incidents took place at either the home of the rape victim or the home of the perpetrator who are known to the victim, such as a family member, a friend or a neighbour.
Speaking about the campaign Lubna Nadvi, a board member at the Advice Desk for the Abused, said they believe in 365 days of activism, as the violence against women and children does not just stop suddenly on 11 December.
“Hence the 16 days campaign is really more symbolic than seeking to really provide a more holistic solution on an ongoing basis.
“Hence, I think GBV awareness should be a year-long campaign so that when we are forced to remember that we must be mindful every day and work to protect our most vulnerable every day, then that will hopefully go a long way in addressing some of the challenges we currently have.”
With regard to curbing the tide of violence, Nadvi said the best place to start is in the early childhood development phase.
“This is when young people are taught very critical skills and certain ideas are imparted to them which will help them to be well adjusted adults and engage with other human beings with respect and dignity.”
Nadvi said while there are many existing legislative interventions to address GBV, the implementation of these always presents several challenges.
“We, therefore, need more qualified, trained and skilled individuals to ensure that all the gender machinery and infrastructure that currently exists is effectively implemented and people held accountable if they are not.”
Nadvi said the scourge of child rapes is totally devastating.
“Children are a vulnerable community. Because of the breakdown of the family system in some spaces and the growing lack of respect, care and consideration for children’s rights, children simply get abused, assaulted and raped.
“In terms of protection, there needs to be greater focus on the implementation of children's rights as per the legislation and to ensure that the affected children have the correct adult care and supervision pre incident, and more especially, post incident.”