Pretoria - Survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) who attended the launch of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children yesterday were encouraged to take control of their lives and change the narrative from victim to conqueror.
The launch, hosted by the Basadi Ba Moshito Foundation, was held in Lyttelton and attended by NPOs and NGOs committed to fighting GBV, as along with victims of GBV.
Yesterday was the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Children. In South Africa, the 16 Days campaign started and will continue until December 10.
The theme for 2021 is “The Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke – 16 Days of Activism – moving from awareness to accountability”.
Speakers shared how victims need to take control of their lives, and be accountable for change in their lives by changing the narrative.
CEO and founder of the foundation, Antoinette Maleke, a survivor of GBV, said they sought to empower women by imparting skills so they can start their own businesses, given South Africa’s high unemployment rate.
Maleke said survivors and victims of GBV should change the narrative and move past their pain and start emphasising victory and success.
“We can’t always be replaying and passively relying on the narrative of being victims, and by that I am not lessening the effects of abuse, but we need to act.”
One of the survivors shared how she was sexually abused by a family member from the age of 15.
“At 19 I discovered that I was five months pregnant and HIV positive. My family forced me to abort; they bought the pills. When I needed medical attention they were not there for me and I had to walk for 30 minutes with my baby’s head already protruding,” she said.
The now 20 year old said she took steps to move beyond her past and traumatic experiences by joining programmes that assist people who have gone through what she did.
Nkululeko Mkhize, from Siyayinqoba NPO, said men should move away from expecting something in return whenever they assist someone.
“It’s important for women not to depend on men because the more men give and spend, the more they think they own women and their bodies.”
The City of Tshwane and stakeholders launched this year’s campaign with a march to the Women’s Heritage Monument on Wednesday.
To mark the international campaign, civil rights movement #NotInMyName said it would be marching in Pretoria CBD today.