Many of us are counting down the days to what feels like the most essential December holiday ever. This year was rough in so many ways, and I’m not sure if it’s just me who’s suffering a pervading sense of fatigue. 

Yet, the activists who work every day to support women and to promote and protect their rights don’t get to slowly wind down the year. In fact, the next 16 days provide some of their most concerted activism and hard work. 

The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women (16 Days) is celebrated annually covering the period from 25 November (the International Day for No Violence Against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day).

This time of year also covers World Aids Day (1 December) and the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (17 December).  In South Africa, the 16 Days also have a focus on violence against children, because of the persistently high levels of this kind of violence in our country. 

Read more: Abusers beware: these two strong women will keep raising the alarm

Crimes against women increased this year, despite an overall decrease in sexual offences. According to the police annual report this year, there was an 8% increase in the number of women murders, a 4% increase in common assault, and an almost 2% increase in assault with the intention to cause grievous bodily harm.

At the same time, the detection rate (or the rate that police successfully solved/detected the cause of these crimes) went down. 

The work of the incredible non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in promoting women’s rights has never been more important.

Here are some of the activities you can get involved in during this year’s 16 days campaign.

This is how you can get involved

 • 3 December: People Opposing Women Abuse will be having a fun walk leaving from their Katlehong Office. Get in touch with Sizakele for more details via their office line on 011 860 2858, and see how you can support POWA via their website.

• The South African Faith and Family Institute will be holding a series of dialogues on de-colonizing violence against women, community activism, and ending violence in intimate relationships, families and society through faith.

Read more: Sisters with blisters: survivors of abuse unite for walk

Get in touch to find out how you can be involved via their Woodstock number 021 462 2277 or how you can support them their website.

• The Ikhwezi Women’s Support Centre will be working in villages around Cathcart to hold community dialogues on gender-based violence for men, awareness raising for women (imbizo yabafazi), and to conduct training workshops on gender sensitivity.

Get in touch with them to find out how you get involved here.

• 5 December: The NISAA Institute for Women’s Development will be holding a talk on the importance of empowering women, including a talk on how to leave an abusive relationship.

This will be held at Signet Mall in Lenasia. Contact them here for more details.

If you don’t have the time to get involved in these activities, you can always donate to one of the important organisations working in this field. Also take some time this 16 Days to educate yourself about what to do if you or someone you know is raped.

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