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#FairnessFirst: Taking action beyond #16DaysofActivism

Unfortunately, gender-based violence is a harsh reality of everyday life for the majority of South African women. Here's what's being done to not just take a stand but also act to end GBV this #16DaysofActivism and beyond, with UN Women's global #OrangetheWorld campaign.
Screengrab from the 'Republic of Sexual Abuse' (RSA) video.

16 Days of Activism is a worthy annual international awareness campaign that launched in 1991. It starts on 25 November and ends on 10 December, but some ask if it’s enough and whether we can afford to act so slowly.

#16DaysofActivism: Can we afford to be acting so slowly?

16 Days of Activism is an annual international awareness campaign that starts on 25 November and ends on 10 December, which is also Human Rights Day...

By Marc Lubner 26 Nov 2019


Awareness alone cannot create change; actions create change


Because recent statistics have proven we still need to stand together all day, every day to turn the tide.

There’s no denying that femicide is a global problem with devastating impact, but we feel it more intensely here in South Africa. We have one of the highest rates of sexual violence in the world – a problem that is likely understated because crimes of this nature tend to go unreported.



Added to this, about 3,000 women in SA were murdered in 2018 – that’s one every three hours. The World Health Organization (WHO) confirms it's more than five times higher than the global average.

Just running an eye over the local trending hashtags in this regard is a chilling snapshot of the current lack of safety:

#MakeitSafe #Enoughisenough #AmINext #JusticeForNene #iamNOTnext #WomenDontOweYouShit #StopKillingUs #FemicideinSA


Clearly, more needs to be done, not just said – fast.

So it’s especially fitting that we pay attention to this year’s #16DaysofActivism theme, which launched at the end of November: #OrangetheWorld:



It’s not a case of “all words, no action”, as many have already raised their voices to join protests to fight back for our safety.

#FairnessFirst: Stepping up to keep SA's females safe

Local media covered the general sense of unrest and discomfort in the country last week, following the spate of femicide cases that spurred the nation to say #Enoughisenough and ask #AmInext? In addition to marches, a number of platforms have been voicing their support...

By Leigh Andrews 9 Sep 2019


It’s such a drastic state that the Republic of Sexual Abuse (RSA) exhibition is currently underway until 10 December at the Zone, Rosebank.

It’s a hard-hitting, impactful activation for People Opposing Women Abuse (Powa), that comes with its own national flag and anthem, which demands the nation’s full attention.



Banking on behaviour change


The sentiment has proven so strong this year that numerous behaviour change campaigns took root before the #16DaysofActivism, such as SA-based #ItStartsWithMe crowdfunding campaign, launched by Wesley Mathew, Meltwater’s head of marketing for UKI and India, in association with Brothers For Life.

The campaign aims to raise R100,000 for programmes that seek to help change male-held beliefs and attitudes that contribute to violent behaviour against women.

#FairnessFirst: Taking a stand against GBV with Brothers For Life and #ItStartswithMe

With last Friday seeing the #InternationalDayoftheGirlChild celebrated, there's no better time to find out more about the #ItStartsWithMe crowdfunding campaign - launched in collaboration with the SA-based behaviour change campaign, Brothers For Life, intended to impact gender-based violence in the country...

By Leigh Andrews 14 Oct 2019


On the backlash around the #MenAreTrash hashtag and why it’s so important for men to take a stand and not take offence when females say they don’t feel safe, Mathew says:
First off, I understand that no one likes being called "trash" on a personal level – but, as with any statement, it needs to be viewed in context. South Africa is wounded, and that hashtag is the symbolic representation of a lot of pain, frustration and fear all rolled into one. To me, #MenAreTrash is a clarion call for action on the part of men – not an attack on my character as a person. I think guys need to employ empathy here, and recognise that this is not an assault on them, but rather the symptom of a nation that's deeply hurting.

Imagine what it’s like, being a woman for a day...


That hurt runs deep, as the #EnoughisEnough survey run by Cosmopolitan earlier this year found that 89% of female respondents have been sexually harassed by men.


That’s why the title has invited eight male celebrities to take a pledge that donates to the United Nations’ global solidarity movement #HeforShe.

#AmINext is not a hashtag, it's the reality of life as a woman in South Africa

Late last week, South Africa was harbouring hope of finding missing 18-year-old UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana...

By Andy Walker 3 Sep 2019


They're encouraged to "stand up against the BS that is the sexual harassment of women for #16DaysOfActivism."

But this is intended to raise awareness around gender-based violence (GBV) in South Africa beyond just 16 days.



There's also the #NoExcuse five-year initiative, launched by Carling Black Label and Takuwani Riime, a consortium of non-governmental and civic organisations that focus on driving positive change amongst South African men last year.

It also initially ran during the last 16 Days of Activism, and is still going strong.

#NoExcuse: New movement to get Champion Men involved in tackling gender-based violence

In SA, instances of femicide are five times the global average and one in five women are assaulted by their partner. #NoExcuse has been launched, with Carling Black Label and Takuwami Riime! as the inaugural supporters, to...

30 Nov 2017


#FairnessFirst: Soweto Derby and Grey's Anatomy fight to end women abuse

Last week, two SA brands notably planned ahead of International Women's Day with messaging that tied in on an extremely large-scale - Carling Black Label did so at the televised Soweto Derby, while 1st for Women made their move during a suitably themed episode of Grey's Anatomy...

By Leigh Andrews 12 Mar 2018


Forget not the children


But it’s not only adults at risk. A child also goes missing every five hours, and with 1,697 children going missing every year, the quicker you begin the search, the more chance there is of a positive outcome.

#FairnessFirst: Transforming SA's most vulnerable into outspoken PowerGirls change agents

With International Day of the Girl recently marked in celebrating the achievement of girls worldwide, we're putting the spotlight on the local PowerGirls seven-year programme, which aims to transform vulnerable South African girls into outspoken and powerful young women, capable of becoming change agents within their communities...

By Leigh Andrews 21 Oct 2019


That’s why Missing Children South Africa (MCSA) shared a positive story every day in last year's 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign.

This year, a partnership between the Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results at Wits University, UJ’s Africa Centre for Evidence, and the Institute for Security Studies has taken the torch further and launched an open source, interactive evidence map.

#16Survivors for #16DaysOfActivism campaign launched

To mark this year's 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, Missing Children South Africa (MCSA) will share a positive story every day for the 16 days with its #16Survivors for #16DaysOfActivism campaign...

28 Nov 2018


The map easily identifies research about the effects of policies and programmes aiming to reduce the violence against women and children in South Africa, to help policy-makers understand what works to prevent violence against women and children.

Becoming global warriors against GBV


It may seem the sentiment is being most strongly felt locally, but don’t forget this is a global movement, and everyone has the right to feel safe.

That’s why the 'Life Isn't Always What is Seems' Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) revelation Instagram video by Supergirl star Melissa Benoist has led to the #iStandwithMelissaBenoist hashtag trending, and the poem recited by Chanel Miller, AKA 'Emily Doe' – sexual assault survivor, artist and author of Know My Name - was so well received when she took to the podium at the recent Glamour Awards:




Actress Alyssa Milano, the voice behind the original #MeToo movement.

Milano's voice keeps fighting for an end and raising awareness throughout the annual #16DaysofActivism campaign:


But imagine if we all do our bit, if we no longer stand back and leave it to the celebrities to lead the conversation.

Imagine if we did something like this:

We need to share our experiences, support survivors and do what we can to end the scourge. Our women and girls are the future.
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About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews (@leigh_andrews) AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality. She's also on the Women in Marketing: Africa advisory panel, and can be reached at ...
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