It started with silence.
To mark the start of this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence (GBV), we chose total silence on our social media accounts for 24 hours, calling on 16 top artists, influencers and activists to join us. to make this statement.
There are 2 reasons behind our decision: the first is that without online noise, deafening but powerful silence is sometimes the best way to make people listen; the second is that our silence is symbolic of the silence imposed on women and children through abuse that discourages its victims from speaking out. Our message is that progress in the fight against gender-based violence can only be achieved through men and women letting their voices be heard, sending a clear message that we have had enough and will do what we can as a financial institution. to ensure that money, in particular, is not used to silence women.
Now the silence has ended and the voices of the women of South Africa will be heard. Throughout the next 16 days, we will highlight the courage of those who have overcome gender-based violence.
Violence affecting women and children is one of the most pressing issues, if not the most pressing, facing South Africa as a nation. According to SaferSpacesbetween 25% and 40% of South African women have experienced abuse at the hands of their partner, and a Optimus Study 2016 showed that 40% of young South Africans have experienced some form of abuse in their lifetime.
GBV is such a prolific and common problem in society that sometimes silence seems easier. The topic may seem too complex or too disturbing to talk about or even acknowledge.
Our message this month is that focusing on the fight to end gender-based violence doesn’t have to be a hopeless conversation. We believe that taking positive action is more important than simply contemplating in silence how terrible this problem is.
That’s why this month and beyond, we’re focusing on content that not only highlights the issue of gender-based violence, but charts a path forward, ways for us to unlearn, learn, grow, and overcome cycles of abuse to produce happier and healthier future generations. adults who have no desire to control or hurt others.
Our content will be built around a series of events. We will be hosting a weekly Twitter Spaces session to offer support and advice on GBV-related issues, a photography exhibition giving voice to the stories of South African women who have overcome abuse and lastly a Run for Her, a virtual run . on December 11 to raise not only awareness but also community action against gender violence.
Stories of gender-based violence are rooted in unresolved trauma and pain, but they are not without hope. We are inspired by the stories of survivors who have shown incredible courage to not only overcome their past trauma, but also to use this trauma to help fuel their current success and guide them to a better future.
We hope that our activities this month and in the future serve to not only highlight a problem, but through accessible solutions and demonstration of the power of actions, big or small, when taken, can ensure that tomorrow is better than today. .
Let’s move forward together towards this brighter future. #Can be
If you have been or know someone who has been abused, please contact one of these organizations:
Childline South Africa: 0800 055 555
GBV Command Center: 080 042 8428
Legal Assistance: 0800 110 110
LifeLine South Africa: 0861 322 322
National Counseling Line: 0861 322 322
National gender violence helpline: 0800 150 150
South African Depression and Anxiety Group: 080 021 2223
South African Police Service: 10111
Tears Foundation (free SMS helpline): *134*7355#
National Refugee Movement of South Africa
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