South Africa has among the highest levels of intimate partner violence in the world. With lockdown, many women and young girls who are in abusive or violent situations have been more trapped and isolated than before. The Body Shop is calling on South Africans to show their solidarity to those isolated with an abuser by sharing the hashtag #IsolatedNotAlone.
The campaign aims to combat the increase in domestic violence due to Covid-19, spread awareness and offer counselling to victims.
“The Body Shop has previously campaigned on violence against young women and girls and with everyone self-isolating at home right now to stop the spread of Covid-19, the need has never been more acute. The more gender-based violence (GBV) is spoken about in society, the less this hidden abuse will live in the shadows,” says Carlos Jardim, GM of the Body Shop South Africa.
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Donations towards 18twenty8
During the campaign, for every handcare product sold, R10 will be donated to local women-led NGO 18twenty8
, which educates boys and men to champion girls’ and women’s safety, provides specialised training for young women at risk and offers support for victims of GBV.
A role model for young women, actress Gugu Gumede has added her voice to this cause, which she says is close to her heart. “I was raised by an amazing, powerful and strong woman who taught me that I am unbreakable and gave me the confidence to believe in myself. I want all the young girls and women who live in fear to know that we see you and hear you. The time has come to find your inner power and break free. You are not alone," says Gumede.
Jardim adds, “According to UN Women, men who witnessed or experienced violence against women as children are more likely to perpetrate intimate partner violence in their adult relationships,” Jardim says. “Ending violence is our collective responsibility; we all have a role to play to change the status quo and fight this scourge.”
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The Body Shop offers the following advice for women and girls affected by GBV:
• Know that this isn't your fault
• You're not alone. Keep in contact with your friends and family regularly
• Create code words or signs to let family or friends know if you're in danger
• While at home, try to stay safe. Write down an emergency number and have essentials ready if you need to leave
• Your mobile phone can be your lifeline. Keep it charged and on hand at all times. Know who to call in case of an emergency
• Contact the Stop Gender Violence Helpline at 0800 150 150 or *120*7867#
"There are many signs of an abusive relationship, and fear of your partner is the most telling. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around them - constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow up - chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs include a man who belittles you or tries to control you, feelings of self-loathing, helplessness and desperation."