The Saartjie Baartman Centre for abused woman and children provides skills and support to vulnerable members of society. Picture: Tracey Adams
Cape Town – With Child Protection Week starting this weekend, the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children in Athlone is hosting a campaign, Help #ChangeHerStory.

The campaign comes as gender-based violence and crimes against women and children have sparked outrage and despair, with some organisations calling it a crisis.

“Statistics in South Africa show three women die every day at the hands of their intimate partners and it is estimated a woman is raped every 13 minutes. One in five children experiences sexual violence before 18,” said Shaheema McLeod, director of the centre. “Through the launch of Help #ChangeHerStory we aim to raise awareness around the unacceptably high level of gender-based violence.”

Zeenat Osman, child counsellor at the centre, said it was always painful to hear children’s stories. "We educate them about acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and help them understand no one has a right to abuse them and being violated is not normal as many think."

"Our shelter accommodates 100 women and their children at a time. They generally stay 16 weeks, during which we assist with child care and job skills training – empowering them to become economically and emotionally independent.”

Through a crowdfunding page, www.thundafund.com/project/changeherstory, South Africans are invited to help to #ChangeHerStory.

Cape Argus