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  |  Affiliates Press Statements

NEHAWU on the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence Campaign

24 November 2016

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (NEHAWU) joins the South African and International community in commemorating the 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Children Abuse from the 25th November to 10th December.

This is a campaign that seeks to raise awareness of gender-based violence, strengthening local networks to protect victims of violence and the creation of a platform for groups and individuals to create and implement policies that oppose violence against men, women and children and find amicable ways to rehabilitate the perpetrators and offenders.

The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children is an international awareness-raising campaign and this year marks the 25th year of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, initiated in 1991 and coordinated by the Centre for Women's Global Leadership. Given such insecurity and lack of safety in relation to education, and informed by the results of a global survey that led to adopt an international theme for 2016 saying
"From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All".

The theme recognizes that structural discrimination, oppression and inequality that is perpetuated in a cycle of violence that does not end even when girls, young women and men are in the act of gaining an education. Gender-based violence with respect to the right to education is a consistent threat in public spaces, schools, work environments and homes and is a detriment to the universal human right to education and it is our obligation to focus on the precarious situation of education for girls and boys, young women and men this year through the 16 Days Campaign.

In our 16th year, South Africa is taking part in the global 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign, which runs from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) through to International Human Rights Day on 10 December. The period includes Universal Children's Day and World AIDS Day.

With the theme "Count me in: Together moving a non-violent South Africa forward", the campaign will be officially launched by President Jacob Zuma in Reiger Park, Ekurhuleni, on 25 November 2016.

The South African Constitution guarantees the rights of every individual, giving people the right to practice their preferred sexual orientation. It can only be an individual who needs serious psychiatry evaluation who would believe that raping a woman/man would change their sexual orientation. Democratic South Africa guarantees human rights, equality, freedom and a bill of rights for all citizens through further Legislation such as the Domestic Violence Act; Children's Act; Sexual Offences and Related Matters Act; Maintenance Act and Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Act have been enacted to protect the interests of women and children in the country.

However in the midst of all these legislations, cases of women and child abuse are on a constant rise. Even though reliable statistics are insufficient and difficult to come by as a result of underreporting and as it is much acknowledged that this is common in our poorer and middle class communities, statistics reveals that the rise is coming from our upper and well educated class in society, we are on a daily occasion confronted with despicable and horrific incidences that the most vulnerable in particular the elderly, women and children are faced with.

NEHAWU in support and action call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women, men and children by:

  • raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national and international level
  • strengthening our work around violence against women
  • establishing a clear link between local organisations and international work to end violence against women
  • providing a forum in which organisations can develop and share new and effective strategies
  • demonstrating the solidarity of women in our union against gender based violence
  • creating tools to pressure government to implement promises made to eliminate gender based violence against women

We take this opportunity to participate in all programmes in provinces so that change can start from within. We urge our members and South Africans in general to be responsible citizens and protectors of their spouses and children and are urged to show support by wearing a white ribbon - a symbol of peace - during the 16-day period to symbolise their commitment to never commit or condone violence against women or children.

The campaign reminds us that this action is not just confined to the 16 days but should be continuous throughout the 365 days of the year. This campaign is significant as it not merely calls for symbolic support but it is a call for action and act when such behaviours are displayed at work and/or in our communities.

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat

Bereng Soke (General Secretary) at 082 455 2713; Zola Saphetha (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5968; Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU Media Liaison Officer) at 011 833 2902 - 082 455 2500 or email: khaya@nehawu.org.za Visit NEHAWU website: www.nehawu.org.za