The 16 Days of Activism for no violence against women and children takes place from 25 November (the International Day of No Violence Against Women) to 10 December each year.

This time period also covers two really important dates – International Human Rights Day (10 December) and World AIDS Day (1 December).

In South Africa children are also included in the focus of the campaign because of the high levels of violence against them. The 2012/13 report from the South African Police Services indicated that of sexual offences reported, about 50% involved an offence against a woman, and 40% against a child.

The South African campaign theme is ‘Count me In, Together moving a non-violent South Africa forward.’ It’s a great chance to get involved in promoting a culture of non-violence and for showing their support with those who report crimes.

Here are some ways you can support the campaign whether you’ve got cash, clicktivist tendencies, or time.

-    Donate to Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust’s fundraising campaign: The campaign will run throughout the 16 Days to raise funds to train members of the community as volunteer counselors. Rape Crisis has offices in Observatory, Khayelitsha, and Athlone. To support them, or become a counselor yourself, visit www.rapecrisis.org.za

-    Support the call for an on-going campaign to end violence, with a fully-costed strategic plan to end violence: 16 days of thinking about how to address this issue is not enough. One of the main challenges is that in South Africa, responding to the issue of violence against women involves many departments, who can’t hold each other to account. Support the call to get better coordination and funding for ending violence by visiting https://www.facebook.com/NSPGBVCampaign/

-    Become an active bystander with the TEARS Foundation: Challenge your friends, family and colleagues to Bang Your Pot. Derived from the 60s and 70s South African tradition in townships to warn people if something was amiss by banging a pot to chase the perpetrator away, the campaign encourages everyone to ‘bang their pots’ and share this via social media. Much like the ALS bucket challenge you can get involved, and challenge others via #bangthepot #countmein on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

-    Highlight good and bad service delivery: The #16DaysofDiscontent campaign from Shukumisa aims to focus on areas that need better services. If you know where something could be improved, or want to highlight what has or hasn’t changed, follow @Shukumisa on twitter, as they share each Department’s performance and highlight what needs to change.

-    Become involved in your local Community Policing Forum: These are an excellent way to address violence in your own community, to become aware of your own rights, and to help to build a culture of no tolerance for violence.

-    Seek help: Call the Stop Gender Based violence helpline 0800 150 150.

-    Stay informed about events: Follow #16DaysofActivism #16Days and #Orangetheworld events in South Africa and around the world

Of course, the most important thing we can do is to know our own rights, to talk to the people in our lives about violence, and to make sure that we are part of the solution, and not part of the problem.  

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