Charities that support women who are victims of violence

During these 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, Moneybags journalist Jessica Anne Wood looks at charities which support women and children and how you can get involved and help them.

On their website, the South African Government explains: “The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children is an international awareness-raising campaign. It takes place every year from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day). The period includes Universal Children’s Day and World AIDS Day.”

Every year different charities, organisations and businesses arrange events and campaigns to raise awareness around the issue of violence against women and children. This year is no different.

South African Government

The theme of this year’s campaign is “Count me in: together moving a non-violent South Africa forward.” There are a number of ways that you can get involved and show your support for the campaign.

One of the ways to show support for the campaign is to wear a white ribbon during the 16 days. “A white ribbon is a symbol of peace and symbolises the commitment of the wearer to never commit or condone violence against women and children,” explains the SA Government.

In addition to this passive form of support, people are also encouraged to take part in various 16 Days of Activism events and activities (scroll down for information on some of these), as well as to volunteer at NGOs and community groups which help victims of violence.

“Many organisations need assistance from the public. You can volunteer your time and make a contribution to the work of institutions. Help plant a garden at a shelter, sponsor plastic tables and chairs for kids at a clinic or join an organisation as a counsellor. Use your skills and knowledge to help the victims of abuse,” says the SA Government.

There are also a variety of ways that you can speak out against women and child abuse. According to the SA Government, these include:

  • Encouraging victims to seek help and talk about the abuse.
  • Reporting child abuse to the police.
  • Encouraging children to report bully behaviour to the school authorities.
  • Encouraging men and boys talk out about abuse and to actively discourage abusive behaviour.
  • Seek help if you are abusive towards your partner, children etc.
  • Talk to family and friends and encourage them to take a stand against women and child abuse.

In addition to the above, the SA Government also suggests joining your community policing forum. “The community and the local police stations are active partners in ensuring local safety and security. The goal is to bring about effective crime prevention by launching intelligence-driven crime-prevention projects in partnership with the local community. You may want to also become a reservist, a member of the community who volunteers his/her services and time to support local policing efforts to fight crime. For more information on how to join, contact your local police station.”

TEARS Foundation

As a part of this year’s 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign, the TEARS Foundation has embarked on the Bang your pot campaign. The Foundation explains that this campaign is aimed at taking a stand and speaking out against domestic violence and sexual abuse.

“Traditionally, when a community member noticed anything untoward, they would beat the nearest saucepan or pot with a stick to attract the neighbours’ attention. In turn, these neighbours would beat their pots and pans, and so the alarm would ripple out to the entire community. A crowd would gather and the wrongdoer would then be warned off,” reveals the TEARS Foundation.

The public service announcement has been aired by the SABC and features an array of South African celebrities speaking out against abuse. The Bang your pot campaign encourages bystander intervention and promotes connection and involvement.

Candice Mama, TEARS Foundation Ambassador, says: “Gender-based violence is something that doesn’t get discussed enough in society. It is a huge problem that many South Africans face, and yet it is swept under the rug and carried with shame. I feel TEARS is part of changing that dynamic.”

You don’t just have to show your support once a year, the TEARS Foundation welcomes volunteers and donations to help them achieve their goal of educating people about rape and sexual abuse.

For more information about the TEARS Foundation and how you can help, click here.

Rape Crisis

For the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women, Rape Crisis (a Cape Town based NGO) is raising funds to train new volunteer counsellors. These counsellors support rape survivors and their families in their recovery after trauma.

The cost to train a rape counsellor is R2 500, however, Rape Crisis is asking for any amount that you can spare to assist in training the people who will help those that are survivors of rape.

Rape Crisis highlights on its website that during the 16 Days of Activism, “over 400 people will be sexually assaulted in the Western Cape. Most of the victims will have children, brothers and sisters, parents, even partners who will also be traumatised by the attack on their loved one. In fact, rape is the leading cause of post-traumatic stress related symptoms, over and above all other types of violence.”

The counsellors offer the survivors and their families the much needed support after this terrible ordeal on their road to recovery and justice.

If you would rather get involved in helping these survivors, than simply donating funds to Rape Crisis, you can become a volunteer. For more information on becoming a volunteer, click here, or contact Jessica Perrins, the fundraising officer for Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust on (021) 447-1467 or Jessica@rapecrisis.org.za.

Save the Children South Africa

This organisation is part of a worldwide independent development and rights based organisation represented in more than 120 countries. Save the Children South Africa focuses on five programme areas, these are:

  • The early childhood care and development programme
  • The health and nutrition programme
  • The education programme
  • The child protection programme
  • The children’s right governance programme

The child protection programme works “to make sure all children in South Africa thrive in a safe environment free from violence.”

There are many ways that you can get involved and help children who are vulnerable. These include making a donation, becoming a volunteer and hosting a fund raising event.

For more information on how to get involved, click here.

Crime Line

Crime Line advocates activism against violence and raising awareness as an ongoing process and not something that happens for 16 days every year. If you are aware of any crime that has taken place, you can place an anonymous call to Crime Line to report it.

If you are a victim of abuse or sexual violence, there are numerous places you can turn to for help. In addition to the few places mentioned here, Crime Line has a webpage that allows you to find support networks in your province, and provides you with the necessary contact information.

For more information on the support services in the various provinces, click here.

While the 16 Days of Activism aims to raise awareness about the issue of violence against women and children, the organisations that help the victims do so throughout the year. To get involved and help those in need and perhaps unable to stand up for themselves, reach out to one of the organisations in your community and make a difference all year long.