Today marks the beginning of our national mourning to remember all those lives we have lost to COVID-19 and gender-based violence — the two pandemics plaguing our society.
On Monday, President Ramaphosa had this to say: “Curbing the scourge of gender-based violence will require an act of solidarity from every sector of society as legislative and policy measures instituted by governments cannot alone rid us of this problem”.
And I fully agree with him. No one is born hating another person or thinking that abusing them is normal. Therefore, we all need to make the effort to eliminate this injustice.
One in four women have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime and 60% of these cases are unreported. There are many reasons for this — fear of not being believed, fear of humiliation, lack of faith in the justice system, or financial insecurity. If we want to win the fight against gender-based violence, we all need to take responsibility — and it starts with believing victims.
During 16 Days of Activism, which also starts today, we are supporting advocacy organisation Women Inspired Solutions for Empowerment (Wise) Collective on their campaign to raise awareness about this important issue. Victims of sexual violence deserve to be treated with compassion and respect.
Join us by taking a photo or selfie of yourself holding a #StartByBelieving sign. We will compile these in a powerful message to the world that we stand united and will not tolerate violence against women and girls.
Thanks for everything you do,