16 Days of Activism against Women and Children Abuse is a global campaign that South Africa participates in. The campaign was initiated in 1991 by the Women’s Global Leadership Institute. They have allocated the theme of ‘ending gender-based violence in the world of work to this year’s campaign. UN Women have also encouraged conversation about rape, a theme that has attracted much protest this year through campaigns such as #MeToo, #TimesUp, #Niunamenos, #NotOneMore, #BalanceTonPorc, and others. This year, the South African government has committed to a series of dialogues on violence against women and children to focus on the problems, causes and solutions. Through the dialogue sessions government will interact with community members who experience violence and abuse. President Cyril Ramaphosa has introduced the title for South Africa’s campaign this year: ‘Enough is Enough: 365 days to end Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF)’. Hope Risen Foundation will be participating in programmes arranged by Social Development to create awareness around human trafficking and preventative measures.
Women and Children Abuse
Violence against women and children and can many forms, including physical violence, emotional violence and even the violence of poverty, starvation, humiliation and degradation: we know that poverty, inequality and unemployment are conditions under which violence thrives. Victims of human trafficking undergo substantial violations of their human rights and dignity and are subjected to forced sexual and physical violence on a daily basis. Not only does poverty and unemployment create environments for violence to thrive but people also become vulnerable to traffickers who lure in those who are desperate. Economic factors play a major role in experience of abuse. The Stats SA report on Poverty Trends in South Africa reveals that the female headed households remain significantly poorer than male headed households. Statistics South Africa’s 2016 Demographic and Health Survey shows that on average one in five South African women older than 18 years has experienced physical violence.
The number of reported rapes rose 3.9% to 41 583 in the year 2019, the highest in four years. The police have logged 443 387 rapes over the past decade, yet the problem may be understated because such crimes frequently aren’t reported. Furthermore, sexual exploitation cases can often defined as rape and statistics surrounding sex trafficking have not been reported as included in these statistics. Just one solution that government has listed participating in is prosecution under The Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act (Act No 7 of 2013) which fights trafficking of all people including young girls and women. Prosecution under this act to obtain justice for victims is often difficult because court cases re-victimise and trigger trauma for victims of sexual exploitation and other human trafficking cases.
“All South Africans should be active participants in the campaign. We have a collective responsibility in the fight to eradicate violence against women and children. We should emphasise the fact that the solution lies with all of us.”
At Hope Risen Foundation we encourage all of our readers, partners and supporters to continue the conversation about human trafficking, creating awareness around the fact that many South Africans and foreigners in South Africa are victims of human trafficking. Interventions from the criminal justice system alone are not enough to prevent the rising cases of gender-based violence and human trafficking. Everyone is society is responsible to protect possible victims, and by working together we can do more. By educating yourselves and others you can help to identify possible trafficking situations, sometimes before they even begin!
- Speak out against woman and child abuse
- Report child abuse to the police.
- Encourage children to report bully behaviour to school authorities.
- Spread the message on social media
We have found that following awareness workshops that we provide we receive more tip-offs of possible human trafficking situations and have been able to provide intervention and rescues simply due to the assistance of the public when they know what to look for.
 Statistics South Africa’s 2016 Demographic and Health Survey