In a bid to eradicate the scourge of violence against women and children, local NGO Crime Line has collaborated with the Minister of Women Affairs Susan Shabangu, to launch the 365 Days of Activism campaign. This follows the recent Days of Activism against women and child abuse, and will seek to mobilize government, the private sector, and civil society into taking a concerted and sustained approach to the issue of violence.
Despite the relative success of the 16 Days campaign, Crime Line head, Yusuf Abramjee, recognized that the initiative had several shortcomings. Whilst it put a strong spotlight on abuse in South African society, its short duration meant that not much action was taking place once the campaign concluded each year.
Crime Line has resolved to partner with government, and several other partners in the private and public sectors, to launch and expanded year-long initiative. Highlighting the current state of abuse in the country, he was hopeful the campaign could keep the momentum going in the fight against such crimes.
“Our people are being raped every few minutes, our children are being abused, we have domestic violence, and we have violent crime,” he explained.
Abramjee said it was imperative that the issue be addressed through a united effort between all facets of South African society, especially since it was reaching “epidemic proportions”.
“I think life has become too cheap in South Africa. Where do we find that people are being murdered for a mere R5, R10, or a cellphone. The situation is very serious. That is why it is critical for us to educate our children to say that life is sacred; we need to respect it,” he said.
Tuesday’s launch of the campaign was attended by several prominent dignitaries, most notably the Lesotho Minister for Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation, Thesele Maseribane. According to Abramjee, the minister had declared his intention to initiate a similar campaign in Lesotho. He had further suggested spreading the campaign to the entire Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
“I think that is the spirit we need. It is good to talk about violence, but the question is what do we do about it? he said.
Come January, the newly formed collaboration between government and Crime Line will seek to roll out an awareness campaign, which will be taken to various communities across the country.
“We need to say count me in. If you say count me in, we will be able to tackle the violence problem,” he insisted.
The launch also saw the establishment of a ‘count up clock’, which will keep tabs on the progress of the 365 Days campaign. The clock will also be accompanied by several resources; including contact details to different NGO’s and tip off services. It can be downloaded via the website www.crimeline.co.za.
The campaign is expected to have an extremely active social media presence throughout the duration of the next year, using the hashtags #365Days and #CountMeIn. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)