Advocacy Resources - Gender Based Violence

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Women living with HIV speak out against violence. 26/11/2014

Published at UNAIDS
26 November 2014
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To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November and the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, UNAIDS published Women living with HIV speak out against violence, a collection of powerful essays written by women living with and affected by HIV.

Intimate partner violence affects one in three women globally and has been shown to increase the risk of acquiring HIV, while research shows that preventing such violence can reduce HIV incidence by 12%. In some settings, young women who have experienced intimate partner violence are 50% more likely to acquire HIV than women who have not. As reported in the publication, women living with HIV also face institutional violence, including forced sterilization and forced abortion as well as denial of health services.

Sabine Böhlke-Möller, Ambassador of Namibia to the United Nations Office in Geneva, and Luiz Loures, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, jointly launched the publication. Depicting women’s experiences of violence and proposing action to end the AIDS epidemic and violence against women, the publication also highlights the imperative of a united and multisectoral response to eliminating violence against women and ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. 


“When you commit violence against a woman, you commit violence against everyone.”
Luiz Loures, Deputy Executive Director, UNAIDS

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The Easy Way Men Can Help End Violence Against Women. 23/9/2013

Huffington Post

Tweeting could play a key role in putting an end to violence against women, according to the executive head of UN women.

While addressing the crowd on Sunday at the Mashable Social Good Summit, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the head of UN Women, urged advocates to use the power of social media to expand the conversation around protecting and empowering women.

“I would like all those men and boys…to stand up against violence against women [by] “tweeting about it, hosting conversations, fighting against those sites that abuse women,” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the former deputy president of South Africa, said.

According to Mlambo-Ngcuka, technology provides "open-access education," which will give women more of an opportunity to become informed about how to protect themselves and find necessary resources.

According to a 2003 UNIFEM report, one in three women will be raped, beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused.

Established three years ago, UN Women has made stopping violence against women and girls a top priority. Mlambo-Ngcuka has impressed the importance of technology and men taking on a more active role in finally putting an end to such devastating figures.

"You need men –- you just cannot crack these issues without winning over men," Mlambo-Ngcuka said in a recent interview with the Associated Press. "We need to win the priests, the rabbis, the traditional chiefs."

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16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women's Global Leadership in 1991.  Participants chose the dates, November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women and December 10, International Human Rights Day, in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights.

This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1, World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.

The 16 Days Campaign has been used as an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women by:

• raising awareness at the local, national, regional and international levels
• strengthening local work
• linking local and global work
• providing a forum for dialogue and strategy-sharing
• pressuring governments to implement commitments made in national and international legal instruments
• demonstrating the solidarity of activists around the world

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16 Days of Activism: Objectification of Women, Alcohol Use and Domestic Violence in South Africa. 2/12/11

This CAI paper presents an analysis of the results of a study conducted by the South African Department of Social Development in 2008.

Consultancy Africa Intelligence

By Dr. M Weideman
2 December 2011

In support of the South African ‘16 Days of activism for no violence against women and children’ campaign, which started running on 25 November 2011 and ends on 10 December 2011, this CAI paper presents an analysis of the results of a study conducted by the South African Department of Social Development in 2008. The study examined the nature and prevalence of domestic violence in South Africa. It is argued that objectification of women and alcohol use are key contributing factors to the prevalence of domestic violence, and that interventions focussing on these factors will have the largest measurable impact on reducing violence. Some recommendations are made.


In 2008, the Department of Social Development appointed Development Research Africa and the CSIR Defence, Peace, Safety and Security Unit to conduct a study on the nature and prevalence of domestic violence in South Africa. The rationale for conducting the research stemmed from the desire to find solutions to two concerns facing the Department of Social Development. First, as various studies and statistics have shown, domestic violence is both prevalent and extreme in South Africa; and second, the apparent failure of interventions to decrease the prevalence and extremity of domestic violence. This paper is the author’s interpretation and analysis of the data generated.(2)

Domestic violence in South Africa (3)

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, women and children are often in greatest danger in the place where they should be safest: within their families. For many, ‘home’ is where they face a regime of terror and violence at the hands of somebody close to them – somebody they should be able to trust.(4) Accurate statistics and/or datasets on the prevalence of domestic violence in South Africa are not available as a result of the methodological challenges involved in data gathering among those who still find themselves in dangerous situations. Knowledge about the frequency and extent of domestic violence in South Africa is thus largely based on police statistics, victim surveys and a series of estimates by NGOs working with survivors.

It is estimated that one in every four women is assaulted by an intimate partner every week,(5) that one adult woman out of every six is assaulted by her partner, and that in at least 46% of these cases, the men involved also abuse the woman’s children. Further, on average, a woman is raped in South Africa every minute, totalling approximately 386,000 women each year.(6)

In a LoveLive study, 39% of young women in South Africa between the ages 12-17 state they have been forced to have sex.(7) In the same study, 33% said that they were afraid of saying “no” to sex, while 55% agreed with the statement “there are times I do not want to have sex but I do because my boyfriend insists on having sex.”(8) The study does not record how many of these forced sex experiences were reported to the police.

The available data also indicates that incidents of domestic violence, in which especially women are victims, are increasing. A recent survey conducted in Gauteng found that half the women in Gauteng (51.3%) have experienced abuse/violence, and 75.5% of men admitted to perpetrating abuse/violence against women.(9) The same study found that one in four women had experienced sexual violence, and 37.4% of men disclosed perpetrating sexual violence.(10)

The domination of, and violence directed at women, are arguably a result of the prevalence of patriarchal family relationships in South Africa.(11) Patriarchal stereotypes and gender roles often result in the abuse of women being normalised or legitimised within domestic relationships.(12) This has been rooted in traditions that encourage ideas of men’s rights to ownership of, and entitlement to power over women. Violence against women is used as a way of securing and maintaining the relations of male dominance and female subordination that are central to the patriarchal social order.(13)

This paper argues that domestic violence in South Africa is exacerbated by the objectification of women (a variant of the belief in male ownership of women’s bodies) through the mainstreaming of advertising for pornography and the widespread use/abuse of alcohol and drugs.


Although quantitative and qualitative methodologies were used during the research process, this article is based exclusively on the findings generated by the quantitative survey conducted by Development Research Africa. The survey component of the research was designed utilising the definitions of the types of domestic violence in the Domestic Violence Act.

The survey questionnaire was administered to approximately 1000 victims/survivors of domestic violence (a minimum of 150 respondents per province, in six provinces). The six provinces were randomly selected and included the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Free State, Limpopo and the North West Province.

In order to ensure the safety of respondents, Development Research Africa cooperated with various organisations assisting and working with victims/survivors of domestic violence. These organisations facilitated safe access to victims/survivors of domestic violence who were willing to talk about their experiences, as well as trained counsellors, social workers and psychologists when required.

Key findings (14)

The key findings summarised below establish a clear link between alcohol abuse, objectification of women and domestic violence against women and children.

Survivors’ understanding of domestic violence

The majority (75%) of respondents felt that being a victim/survivor of domestic violence should not be a source of shame. Most (92%) understood that domestic violence is a crime, but these findings are skewed by the fact that in most cases the survivors interviewed had already accessed places of safety. Perhaps a better indicator of the societal understanding of domestic violence and the rights of women (or rather, lack thereof) is the finding that only a few respondents described forced sex within a romantic relationship, or forced sex with someone known to the survivor, as rape.

“When I refused to have sex with him [my partner] he stabbed me.”
“He kicked me in front of my children and forced me to have sex with him.”
“I was beaten in front of his family and my children. When he was finished, he forced me to have sex with him.”

Prevalence of domestic violence according to survivors
When asked how prevalent domestic violence was in their respective communities, 62% of respondents said that is very common or common. More disturbingly, only 24% of respondents did not have friends in abusive relationships at the time of the interviews.

Profile of domestic violence in South Africa
Survivor accounts of their experiences indicate the complexity and magnitude of abuse. Of the respondents surveyed, 76% reported being victims of physical abuse, 90% of emotional abuse, 48% of economic abuse and 28% of sexual abuse. The overlapping categories above suggest that the respondents tended to experience more than one (and often all) type(s) of abuse. Given an assumed reluctance to speak about sexual abuse, the lack of understanding of what constitutes sexual abuse and the descriptions of incidents by respondents during the interview process, one can infer that the extent of sexual abuse is much higher than reported.

Respondents were also asked to describe their worst abusive experience. The majority of incidents cited were examples of physical or sexual abuse. Those who mentioned incidents of emotional/verbal abuse emphasised humiliation and incidents in which their children were involved. Most of the incidents reported seem to have been prompted by a combination of alcohol/drug use, jealousy and perpetrator notions of sexual ownership of female bodies.

“My phone rang when he was there. He would not believe me that it was a friend who called. He threw boiling water in my face.”
“He asked me to follow him to the shebeen. When we arrived there he asked if anyone wanted a woman for sex. When I refused he beat me.”
“He just accused me of sleeping with another man and then he beat me and then he forced me to have sex.”
“He pimps me out. He made me a sex worker. He beats me if I don’t bring home enough money.”
“He came to my office. He walked in and locked the door behind him. He started punching me and accusing me of having an affair.”
“I was cleaning the house when he said I must go to the bedroom for sex. I asked him to wait. He threw boiling cooking oil at me.”
“When I refused to have sex with him he stabbed me.”

Examples of physical abuse include accounts of being choked, strangled, suffocated, beaten – with bare fists, rods, bricks, guns, furniture, rocks – spat at, bitten, kicked, defecated or urinated on, burnt, locked up and starved, tied up, stabbed and prevented from getting medical attention.

“Afterwards, I had to pick my teeth up from the floor.”
“He choked me. Then he poured paraffin over me and threatened to burn me alive. He forced me to eat dog food while he watched.”
“He would bang my head against the floor, kick me, slap me and choke me.”
“He beat me and tried to strangle me. I was gasping for breath. I thought I was going to die.”
“He kicked me when I was pregnant. Then I lost my baby.”
“I was frying fish on Good Friday. He came in and choked me. Then he threw me on the bed and stabbed me with a fork.”

The typical victim/survivor of domestic violence in South Africa is abused every day and remains in the abusive relationship for several years. Approximately 77% remained in abusive relationships for more than a year, 23% for two to five years, 14% for five to ten years, and 12% for more than ten years.

The research echoes findings of previous studies and found that 83% of the abusive incidents take place at the home of the victim/survivor (63% in the house and 19% in the yard/garden). The next most likely place for abuse to occur is at the homes of friends or family, or at work.

In approximately half of the abusive incidents, perpetrators used a weapon. Of these, 10% were guns, and 51% were knifes. Other often used weapons included canes, boiling water, pangas and axes.

“Yesterday he held a panga. He told me he would not hesitate to kill me.”
“When I was pregnant he would threaten me with a knife.”
“The worst day was when the used a blade to cut me, he used a hammer to hit my knees, and then he threw me and the children out in the night.”
“The worst day was when he used an axe. I was hit in the head. I had to go to hospital.”
“The worst day was when he stabbed me in my neck and locked me up. I almost bled to death.”
“He hit me with the barrel of his firearm. When I ran away he fired a shot at me, but fortunately he missed me.”
“He poured petrol over me and burnt me.”
“He threw boiling water in my face. I was in hospital for three weeks.”

Violence and abusive behaviour is often directed at the children of the survivor/victim as a means to exert control over her. Abusers sometimes harmed children in an effort to terrorise their mothers. Experiences reported by respondents included incidents of children being raped in front of their mothers.

“He beat me using stones, while his friends raped my 6-year old.”
“He came home drunk and told me to go and wake up my baby. He beat us.”
“He came home drunk and the started beating me and the children.”
“The worst was the night he started abusing me and my children, and then he grabbed the panga and almost killed me.”
“The worst was when he said that he would kill my children. Then he pointed a gun at us.”

Generally, the abuse is witnessed by others, and in almost half the reported cases, other persons were present while the abusive incidents were taking place. The majority of the witnesses to domestic violence were in the position to assist the victims (i.e. were adults), but did not do so. More specifically, the witnesses of the abuse were children (38%), adult family members (28%), adult friends (19%), work colleagues (2%), neighbours (2%) and adult strangers (10%). Only 17% of respondents said that their abuse has not been witnessed by other persons.

“The worst incident for me was when he beat me in front of his friends. He kicked me, pulled by my hair, used bricks to beat me, strangled me and then shoved me out to lie in the rain.”
“He hit me in front of his friends and their partners, calling me names and saying that I am never satisfied with one man. He just kept hitting me.”
“The worst for me was at my friend’s party. He dragged me out of the party and started to hit and kick me until I started bleeding from my vagina.”
“The worst is when he fights with me in front of other people and tears my clothes off.”
“The worst is when he beats me in front of his friends.”
“He came home drunk and started biting me in front of his mother and the children.”
The worst was when he threatened to kill me with a spade in front of my children and my neighbours. He was very drunk. I felt hopeless and helpless.”
“We were arguing and then he took my two children hostage. He threatened to kill me. He pulled the trigger. The bullet hit me in the left thigh.”

The above also raises concerns about the impact of domestic abuse on the children who are witnessing these events on a regular basis. It was found, for example, that 88% of the victims/survivors of domestic violence interviewed had children living with them.  

“He strangled me and forced me to say I am having an affair, in front of the children. I felt so humiliated because I wet myself.”

Further, in approximately 14% of the cases the respondent was abused by more than one person at a time. In 72% of these cases, the other abuser was a friend or family member of the primary abuser. In 64% of these cases, the primary abuser orchestrated the additional abuse.

Profile of the victims and survivors of domestic violence
The overwhelming majority of adult victims are women (other categories of adults include the elderly and a small proportion of men). The victims and survivors are not more likely to belong to any particular racial, cultural or language groups. Nevertheless, the majority of the respondents were economically vulnerable (unemployed and without income). Slightly less than half of the respondents were actually economically dependent on the perpetrators – 44% said that they were financially dependent on the perpetrator, while 41% said that they were dependent on the perpetrator for accommodation.

In the vast majority of cases the victims/survivors were either married (53%) or had intimate relationships with (22%) the perpetrator/abuser. A further 21% of perpetrators were family members of the victims/survivors.

Consequences of domestic violence for the victims and survivors
The average respondent participating in the research has required medical attention at least twice as a result of physical violence. Further, 35% reported that they had permanent injuries as a result of physical abuse. Approximately 10% (and one can assume that this matter is under-reported) said that they had contracted HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases, and a further 12% reported a negative impact on their reproductive health – infertility, unwanted pregnancies, abortions, miscarriages – as a result of physical and sexual violence.

The respondents participating in this research were severely traumatised (even though the majority of these women had already received some assistance/counselling). Some of the commonly reported symptoms of trauma included eating disorders, sleeping disorders, chronic headaches (or other aches and pains), overwhelming feelings of anger, severe anxiety and fear, and depression.

Profile of the perpetrators of domestic violence
The majority of perpetrators were male (84%) and were living with the victims at the time of the abuse (67%). There is an important association between the propensity to domestic violence and drug and alcohol use – 76% of perpetrators regularly “use” alcohol and other drugs, while approximately half were considered to have serious substance abuse problems. The research revealed that perpetrators tend to also behave violently towards other people. In 30% of the reported cases, victims were aware of someone else who had been abused by the perpetrators in the same way, which suggests that they are repeat offenders.

Perpetrators who have access to pornography, are likely to use it, or to pay for sex. The majority of perpetrators (84%) regularly use offensive and abusive language. Perpetrators also tend to be very jealous and controlling (71%). Perpetrators tend to have patriarchal and sexist attitudes and to dehumanise and objectify women. They are also unlikely to show remorse for their actions.

Key identified causes/triggers for domestic violence

The following causes/triggers for domestic violence are presented in order of frequency. Triggers are defined as events that precede violent incidents and differ from underlying causes (i.e. underlying long-term contributing factors such as abuse in childhood, sexist attitudes in society).

Alcohol and drug use
Victims and perpetrators reported that abuse was most likely to take place when perpetrators were using alcohol or drugs. Further, the majority of respondents said that they fear the abusers most when the abusers use alcohol. Victims were also afraid at, or after, “social events” where perpetrators would use drugs or alcohol, and then tended to become controlling and jealous.

Analysis of the “worst case scenarios” also indicated that the perpetrators were more likely to be violent when they had access to money (e.g. “month end”) or  when the victim had access to money (e.g. “when he wants to take  my money”). This money would be used by perpetrators to purchase alcohol, drugs or sex – activities that are mostly followed by violence or other forms of abuse.

The author of this paper calculated (based on the interviews conducted) that drugs/alcohol use was a trigger for domestic violence in at least 64% of the worst incidences reported, and in at least 73% of overall incidences reported. When asked whether the abuser tended to use alcohol, or to be drunk before or during incidents of abuse, approximately 73% said yes. A further 30% said that they knew that the perpetrator was using drugs at the time of the worst incident (drug-use is likely to be under-reported).

Other, more recent, research supports the arguments above. The Gender Links study on gender-based violence in Gauteng province, cited earlier, found that men's alcohol consumption was closely associated with perpetration of all forms of violence, including rape. It also found that 4.2% of women had been raped while drunk or drugged and that 14.2% of men surveyed had forced a woman to have sex when she was too drunk or drugged to refuse.(15)

Objectification and control
Accounts of the worst incidences of domestic violence experienced by respondents indicated that most incidents were preceded by the perpetrators 1) either assuming infidelity on the part of the victim/survivor, or expressing extreme jealousy, 2) perpetrators expressing frustration at their inability to control the movement or behaviour of their victims, 3) when victims decline or refuse to have sex with the perpetrators. Perpetrators appear to operate from the assumption that they ‘own’ women and accordingly treat women like objects. Perpetrators assume that women do not have a right to decline sex (i.e. do not have control over their own bodies). Such attitudes and behaviours are exacerbated when alcohol and drugs are involved.

Financial stress
Financial stress, unemployment and poverty were contributing factors to domestic violence in 21% of the incidences reported.

The way forward

South Africa’s commitment to eradicating domestic violence has been illustrated by the introduction of legislation such as the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) which aims to provide speedy, effective and accessible legal relief to a very wide range of complainants.(16) This commitment and its legislative framework, even if implemented effectively, however, is not sufficient to reduce the prevalence of violence and other abuse, because it does not address key issues such as the objectification of women and prevalent drug and alcohol use. 

Objectification of the female is so prevalent in South African society that the victims/survivors of violence interviewed in the research had internalised the dehumanising consequences of objectification to the extent that they did not even recognise when they were raped. They had been conditioned – through experienced and witnessed abuse, and a society that continues to use the female form as a source of entertainment, a means to selling products, and an item for sale in itself - to give ownership of their lives and bodies over to male partners/friends and family members.

What is required is the promulgation of further appropriate legislation and interventions based on a complex and factual understanding of the prevalence and nature of the phenomenon, as well as the widespread attitudes and beliefs that arguably facilitate violent behaviour towards women. 

Addressing alcohol abuse and the effect thereof on families: The biggest causal factor relating to violent incidents identified in the survey research was alcohol and drug use. Resources and interventions aimed at treating the disease of alcoholism and the effect it has on families will have the biggest measurable effect on reducing violence and abusive behaviour. The many non-governmental organisations and civil society recovery groups working in these areas could be included in state-driven initiatives without incurring significant costs.

Introducing initiatives and legislation to reduce the objectification of women: Current mainstreaming of ideas and activities that portray and use women as sexual objects need to be addressed and at the very least, the advertising regulated. Current social and cultural condoning of objectification will only contribute to increased violence against women. The current prevalence of these sexist attitudes feed into ideas of sexual ownership and the general oppression of women. It is expressed in the high levels of domestic violence, the extremely high number of rapes, and the prevalence of HIV and AIDS amongst young married women.

Education and information dissemination: Widespread, multi-level and multi-stakeholder education and information dissemination activities are necessary. The content of such initiatives should focus on; what constitutes domestic violence, which behaviours are illegal, what help and resources are available, developing respect for women among perpetrators and victims, and developing self-esteem among women. Strategies and initiatives embarked upon will differ depending on the target audience. These include:

- Workshops and training sessions hosted by the Department of Social Development for subject experts and domestic violence practitioners.

The research showed that both the victims and perpetrators of domestic violence watch television, but are much less likely to listen to the radio or read newspapers. Television is an expensive but very wide reaching medium. Innovative thinking could reduce the cost of utilising this medium. Possibilities include utilising SABC education, or approaching writers and producers of popular South African television dramas and soap operas to write domestic violence interpretations into performed scripts.

- Part of the information and education targeted at the broader society level should focus on what the many witnesses to domestic violence can do to assist the victims, as well as, promote a culture of responsibility and willingness to assist. In some societies, families have relied upon community-based support mechanisms to resolve issues of conflict. The local community therefore needs to be mobilised to oppose domestic violence in its midst. Actions taken by local people may include greater surveillance of domestic violence situations, offering support for victims-survivors and challenging men to stop the violence.

- Community information and education programmes regarding the nature and unacceptability of domestic violence should be developed. Such programmes should address cultural forms of behaviour that uphold male aggression, beating, punishment and abuse of women as acceptable. Developing integrated responses to domestic violence through involvement of local community groups, community health workers and women serves to create sustainability and accountability.

- Tolerance and gender-awareness education must be included in school and tertiary institutions’ curricula. Further, the business and public sectors should be encouraged to provide similar education to their employees. One focus area of such training should be on the right and autonomy women should have over their own bodies. Sexism and objectification have been internalised by many women to the extent that it did not occur to them that being forced to have sex was rape.

- Most of the victims of domestic violence interviewed for this survey are economically vulnerable. Reducing economic vulnerability will increase the ability of women to leave abusive relationships, as well as to reduce their direct involvement in the mainstreaming of sexual exploitation and objectification of women as ‘entertainment.’ It is necessary to ensure (through policy and programmes) that women have the opportunities to economically empower themselves.

- Direct interventions and services provided to victims of domestic violence should as a core component include treatment for depression and anxiety, as well as focus on the development of self-worth and self-esteem.

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16 Ways to Say NO to Violence against Women. 18/11/11

16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence
18 November 2011

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence Campaign runs from 25 November 10 December, and calls upon everyone to take action to end violence against women and girls. We have a host of events and actions lined up for you!

Say NO – UNiTE is launching  16 Ways to Say NO to Violence against Women. Visit here and pick as many actions as you want, or take the featured action of the day.

You can take actions online or offline, by participating in the highlighted events or by organizing your own. If you are organizing a 16 Days action, we want to know about it! Please post it on Stay tuned for news and more here and spread the word on Facebook and Twitter.

If you are not in New York or haven’t RSVP-d to attend the UN official observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, join us virtually on 23 November here. Youth activists are meeting the UN Secretary-General, UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet and other high-level participants to discuss ways to end violence against women and girls. We will be live tweeting from the event – follow #UNiTEyouth and @SayNO_UNiTE on Twitter.

Together we can end violence against women.

Say NO – UNiTE Team, UN Women


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CLF Sestien Dae van Aktivisme

CLF-materiaal kan jou hande versterk in die Sestien dae van aktivisme-veldtog

Die 16 dae van aktivisme teen geweld is ’n inisiatief wat regoor die wêreld in die tydperk tussen 25 November en 10 Desember gevier word. Suid-Afrika het 1999 by die veldtog aangesluit, maar die oorspronklike veldtog is in 1991 deur die Centre for Women’s Global Leadership in New Jersey begin. Die veldtog benadruk die felheid van die geweld wat veral teen vroue en kinders gepleeg word.

Die 16 dae-veldtog word gebruik om mense bewus te maak van hoe ons samelewing ly as gevolg van geweld. Dit skop af met die internasionale dag teen vrouegeweld en eindig met Internasionale Menseregtedag op 10 Desember. Ander dae wat in hierdie tyd beklemtoon word is Wêreld Vigsdag op 1 Desember, Internasionale Gestremdheidsdag op 3 Desember en International Women Human Rights Defenders Day op 29 November.

Die lys van aktiwiteite gedurende hierdie dae is lank: filmvertonings oor menseregtevergrype in verskillende lande, besprekings tussen aktiviste en ander rolspelers oor hoe om die probleem te oorkom, asook dialoog tussen die verskillende kerke wat betrokke is. Daar is ook vele fondsinsamelingspogings vir nie-regeringsorganisasies en ander organisasies wat gemeenskapsopheffingswerk doen.

CLF het verskeie pamflette wat handel oor temas wat aangespreek word in hierdie veldtog. As jou kerk of uitreikgroep ’n aksie beplan vir hierdie tyd, bestel betyds materiaal wat julle gedurende hierdie tyd kan gebruik. Of as jy as individu weet van iemand wat vasgevang is in die kloue geweld of sosiale probleme, reik uit na hierdie persoon met CLF se materiaal. Dit is gratis, in beperkte hoeveelhede beskikbaar.

Van die temas wat inskakel by hierdie veldtog is bv:

          -MIV positief wat nou?
          -‘n Lewe vry van VIGS
          -Die mishandelde vrou
          -Gesinsgeweld – is jy ‘n slagoffer?
          -Kan misdadigers verander?
          -Van slagoffer tot oorwinnaar
          -Kan die wonde van molestering genees?
          -Alkohol – iemand na aan my drink te veel
          -Alkohol – wat is die feite?
          -Hoe weet mens alkohol is ‘n probleem?
          -Ek kan nee sê
          -Tiener of mamma (tienerswangerskap)



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Take Action Kit

Centre for Women's Global Leadership 2011

Abstract: The Center for Women's Global Leadership would like to specially thank the following individuals and organizations who have volunteered their time to provide translations of 16 Days Campaign materials: Aleksandra Petrić (United Women Banja Luka, BiH), Chrysant Kusumowardoyo, Dr. Goran Racetovic, Giorgo Filippou (Association for the Handling and prevention of Domestic Violence), Magdalena Wnukowicz (Fundacja Autonomia), Rana Feghali, Dudziro Nhengu (Research and Advocacy Unit), Patricia Mourão (Instituto Magna Mater), Masumi Honda & Hisako Motoyama (Asia-Japan Women's Resource Center / AJWRC), Rada Elenkova (Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation – Plovdiv Branch), Festa Andrew Mwanyingili (Women's Dignity),  Nicole B. Mwaka (Directrice Carrefour des Femmes et Familles), Xiuhua Wan (Jana's Campaign), and Luo Zhai(Women’s Leadership Project of the Center for Civic Leadership).

-Cover Letter: English,
-Theme Announcement: English,
-Campaign Profile: English
-Key Dates: English
-A Guide to Planning Your Campaign: English
-Information Sheet #1 (Bridging Movements): English
-Information Sheet #2 (Small Arms): English
-Information Sheet #3 (Conflict Related Sexual Violence): English
-Information Sheet #4 (Political Violence Against Women): English
-Information Sheet #5 (Sexual Violence by State -Agents): English
-UN Resources Sheet:
-EnglishGEAR Information Sheet: English
-Say NO Information Sheet:English
-UNiTE Information Sheet: EnglishWILPF Information -Sheet: English

-Cover Letter: English,
-Theme Announcement: English

Download these documents here

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The Role of Traditional Leadership

Subtitle: Preventing Violence against Women towards Effective HIV Prevention in Southern Africa.

Published by SAfAIDS

Abstract: Introduction Traditional leaders and traditional structures remain infl uential among a large majority of the population in Southern Africa, in both urban and rural areas. Traditional leaders wield influence and command much respect in their communities. Despite undeniable evidence that shows the linkages between violence against women and HIV, traditional leaders’ potential to actively participate in HIV prevention activities and projects to eliminate violence against women however, remains untapped. With adequate support, traditional leaders can facilitate positive change in local communities working to address HIV and violence against women.

Download this document here (PDF, 801.67 KB, 4 pg)

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2009 16 Days Take Action Kit

The Center for Women's Global Leadership developed a toolkit using the themes "COMMIT ▪ ACT ▪ DEMAND: We CAN End Violence Against Women!". 

You can donwnload a selection of tools and guidelines in various languages from the website

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GBV Communication Skills Manual

The training is designed so that all the materials used can be shared with participants at the end of the workshop

Family Heatlh International

The curriculum in this gender-based violence (GBV) manual on communication skills represents collaboration between Family Health International (FHI), the Reproductive Health Response in Conflict (RHRC) Consortium, and the International Rescue Committee (IRC). The manual includes a training outline, a list of materials needed, an in-depth training curriculum, and all transparencies, handouts, and activity sheets necessary to conduct a training. The training is designed so that all the materials used can be shared with participants at the end of the workshop, which will allow for subsequent trainings on topics relevant to their context. The training is designed to be completed in 5 days, beginning with an overview of GBV and then covering areas focusing on engagement strategies for work with GBV survivors, methods to support the service provider, and service provider responsibilities and community referrals facilitation skills overview, training review, and evaluation.

-Day 1: Overview of Gender-based Violence
-Day 2: Engagement Strategies in Working with Survivors
-Day 3: Engagement Strategies (con’t)
-Day 4: Supporting the Service Provider
-Day 5: Service Provider Responsibilities and Community Referrals
-Facilitation Skills Overview, Training Review and Evaluation
-Binder Documents

Download this manual here (PDF, 2.35MB, 194pg)

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Get Moving! The GBV Prevention Network's Movement Building Initiative.

Get Moving! utilizes reflection sessions, exercises and readings, designed to stimulate personal and / or organizational reflection about GBV prevention work.

Published by The Gender Based Violence Prevention Network
January 2009

There are six phases in the Get Moving process. To correspond with each phase, the GBV Prevention Network published the Get Moving! series of booklets which are designed to stimulate personal and/or organisational reflection about movement building. The publications include ideas for reflection sessions, exercises, and readings that ideally would be conducted within member organisations, as well as readings and suggestions for journal writing that participants can do independently. According to the publication, the Get Moving! process is for any group or organisation interested in thinking more about the ideas and values that underpin GBV prevention work and what it would take to truly prevent GBV in the region.

Download the resources by phase:

Get Moving! Phase 1: Looking Within (PDF, MB, 32pg)
Get Moving! Phase 2: Supporting Each Other (PDF, 5.52MB, 36pg)
Get Moving! Phase 3: Living our Beliefs (PDF, 3.12MB, 32pg)
Get Moving! Phase 4: Fostering Activism (PDF, 3.16MB, 32pg)
Get Moving! Phase 5: Reaching Out (PDF, 2.29 MB, 32pg)
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I Endorse The Safe World for Women Campaign.

This is a campaign that seeks people to endorse this campaign which seeks to demand of the government to take action against gender-based violence. This campaign demands the government to:

-Pass and enforce laws addressing all forms of violence against women and girls.
-Ensure an effective range of support is available for victims and survivors.
-Undertake research to find out the scale of violence against women and girls.
-In conflict situations, put in place special policies to address sexual violence
-Explain to the public the reason for the 16 year delay in acting on the 1993 resolution.

Sign up for this campaign here

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Promoting Gender Equality to Prevent Violence against Women

Focuses on violence against women by intimate partners

Published by WHO June 2009
ISBN 978 92 4 159788 3

This briefing document focuses on violence against women by intimate partners. It examines the relationship of gender inequalities to gender-based violence and finds evidence that school, community, and media interventions can promote gender equality and prevent violence against women by challenging stereotypes that give men power over women. The document describes some of the promising methods of promoting gender equality and their effectiveness, including school-based interventions to work with schoolchildren before gender attitudes and behaviours are deeply ingrained and community interventions.

Download this document here(PDF, 591.08KB, 18pg)

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Reporting Gender Based Violence: A Handbook for Journalists

To encourage and support sustained media coverage of gender-based violence (GBV)

Published by Inter Press Services November 2009
ISBN: 978-0-620-45143-7
This handbook for reporters is designed to encourage and support sustained media coverage of gender-based violence (GBV) beyond the annual 16 Days of No Violence Against Women and Children. The handbook is divided into twelve sections which each include an overview of a key issue, some facts and statistics, and a sample feature article to provide an example of best practice and/or what to consider when writing about GBV. The publication also includes discussion questions for facilitators who plan to use this handbook in training.
-Custom, tradition and religion
-Domestic violence
-Sexual gender-based violence
-Sex work and trafficking
-Sexual harassment
-Sexual gender based violence in armed conflict
-Child abuse
-The role of men in combating violence against women
-The criminal justice system
-The cost of gender-based violence

Download this document here(PDF, 2.75 MB, 76pg)

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Speak Out. Youth Report Sexual Abuse. A Handbook for Learners on How to Prevent Sexual Abuse in Public Schools

Published by the Department of Basic Education in South Africa July 2010

Authors: Dr Patricia Watson, Rolaball Eduscript and Julia Grey

This handbook is designed to contribute towards creating a safe, caring, and enabling environment for learning and teaching in public schools in South Africa. The purpose of the handbook is to equip learners with knowledge and understanding of sexual harassment and sexual violence, its implications, ways to protect themselves from perpetrators, and where to report incidences of sexual violence or harassment

-Stop Abuse
-Agony Auntie
-What is sexual abuse?
-School rules to protect you
-Signs of sexual abuse
-Teachers have a duty to stop sexual abuse
-Speak out! Report abuse to the police
-Speak out! Report abuse at school
-Speak out against rape!
-Be smart: Protect yourself
-Speak out! Power in group action
-Words to know

Download this resource here (PDF, 6.4 MB, 32pg)

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The Role of Religious Communities in Addressing Gender-Based Violence and HIV

The training began with opening speeches from a range of senior religious leaders and experts on GBV and HIV

USAID Publication August 2009
Author: Britt Herstad

This report summarises the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Health Policy Initiative, Task Order 1, project titled The Role of Religious Communities in Addressing Gender-based Violence and HIV, which was designed and implemented in Africa by Futures Group International and Religions for Peace. Recognising the importance of collaborating to prevent and reduce gender-based violence (GBV) and HIV among women and girls, the initiative partners worked to improve the capacity of religious leaders and faith-based organisations (FBOs) to respond to GBV and its links to HIV.

To that end, the first component of this project brought together African religious leaders - with a particular focus on women of faith - for a regional training workshop on GBV as related to HIV. From July 30-August 2 2007, 23 delegates from 8 countries - Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia - came together to participate in a 4-day regional training in Nairobi, Kenya. An emphasis on the participation of women infused this project, as reflected from the very beginning; participants in this regional training were drawn, in part, from the African Women of Faith Network (AWFN) and the National Inter-Religious Councils, established by Religions for Peace.

As detailed in the report, the training began with opening speeches from a range of senior religious leaders and experts on GBV and HIV. As a beginning exercise, participants were asked to agree or disagree with a few statements; this was designed to spark initial conversation about the topics at hand. For instance, most participants disagreed with this statement: "It is not appropriate for religious leaders to discuss matters relating to women and sexuality."

Download the resource here (PDF, 42pg, 625.43KB)

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You & Rape

This booklet is our contribution to sharing the information we’ve gathered

Published by Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust

In 1992, the Natal Midlands Black Sash, Rape Crisis, and a number of other women’s organisations in Pietermaritzburg began a public rape education programme. This programme was the result of the rising number of rapes, and the need for society to support men and women who have been raped in a way that restores their dignity. It was designed to support rape survivors in bringing their attackers to trial - if that is what the survivor chooses to do. Although rape is a difficult subject for many people to discuss, men and women need to share their experiences as rape survivors in order to help and strengthen each other. This booklet is our contribution to sharing the information we’ve gathered from our experience over the years. The book has been updated several times. With this latest update, Rape Crisis has included the new sexual offences act and recent information regarding medical and social aspects of rape.


- Introduction
- What is rape?
- What to do if someone has raped you
- Reactions to rape
- Healing
- Myths and Facts about Rape
- Male Rape
- Ideas about preventing rape
- Sexual abuse of children and mentally challenged adults
- Some points for discussion

Download this 33-page PDF here in:

English (788 KB)
Afrikaans (812.49 KB)
Xhosa (798.49 KB)
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International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women. 25/11/09

By resolution 54/134, taken on 17 December 1999, the General Assembly of the United Nations designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Governments, international organizations and NGOs were invited to organize activities designed to raise public awareness of the problem on that day1. This article attempts to contribute to the cause by presenting disturbing facts on violence against women.
 Statistics on violence against women: the global picture
Sexual and gender based violence against women paints a disturbing picture2:
  • Up to one-third of adolescent girls report forced sexual initiation.
    • For example, a recent study suggests that in the United Kingdom:
      • one in three teenage girls has suffered sexual abuse from a boyfriend,
      • one in four has experienced violence in a relationship,
      • one in six has been pressured into sexual intercourse,
      • one in sixteen said they had been raped.
  • Mass rape of women and girls continues to be seen as somehow a legitimate military weapon.
    • Reports suggest that, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in a war that lasted a mere three years, somewhere between 10,000 and 60,000 women and girls were raped.
  • Sexual violence against men and boys continues undaunted, unreported, understudied, and too often a source of ridicule and derision.
    • According to a number of studies, somewhere between 5 and 10% of adult males report having been sexually abused in their childhood.
  • Women suffer violence in health care settings, “including sexual harassment, genital mutilation, forced gynecological procedures, threatened or forced abortions, and inspections of virginity.”
  • Sexual violence in schools abounds almost in every country in the world
  • In Canada, 23% of girls experience sexual harassment.
  • There was a 25% rise in rape and sexual assaults between 2005 and 2007: Among all violent crimes, domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault showed the largest increase.
Around the world, the numbers speak for themselves, but to whom do they speak, and who is listening, who is taking the count and who is assessing accountability? It seems the whole globe, in its entirety and in each of its parts, is haunted by sexual and gender-based violence. Around and about the world daily, reports and studies on sexual and gender based violence are published3.
Where does it start?
According to Daniel Moshenberg, gender and sexual violence begins and ends at the intersection of sexual inequality and gender inequality4.
Some abusers learned abusive behaviour from their parents. Their early history consisted of receiving abuse themselves and/or seeing others abused (one parent abusing the other or their sibling, etc.). As a consequence, abuse is the normal condition of life for these people. Such people have internalised a particular relationship dynamic, namely the complementary roles of "abuser" and "victim". They are familiar with and fully understand the terror of being the helpless victim from their own childhood experience. The opposite of being a victim is not simply opting out of abuse; it is instead, to be abusive.
Given the choice between being the out-of-control victim, or the in-control abuser, some of these people grow up to prefer the role of the abuser. As they become adults, they simply turn this relationship dynamically around and start acting out the "abuser" side of the relationship to which they have been conditioned. By choosing to be the aggressor and abuser, they may get their first sense of taking control over their own destiny and not being at the mercy of others. That they hurt others in the process may go unregistered or only occur as a dim part of their awareness. behaviour can also result from mental health issues or disorders. For example, someone with anger management issues, a diagnosis of intermittent explosive disorder, or a drinking or drug problem may easily get out of control during arguments (e.g., because there is something wrong with their ability to inhibit themselves at the brain level) and verbally or physically strike out at their partners and dependents.
Still other people who abuse end up abusing because they have an empathy deficit, either because of some sort of brain damage, or because they were so abused themselves as children that their innate empathic abilities never developed properly
What can be done about it?
It is obvious that people exposed to gender and sexual based violence will need physical, psychological, emotional and social support. In many countries the support is being supplied by the government and locally, by a variety of non-governmental organizations. Good examples are rape crises centres, help-lines, health services and shelters. The problem with people who become victims of gender and sexual violence is that they are often afraid or even ashamed and stigmatized to find such help and support.
A more sustainable solution must be found. Preventing sexual violence will require a cultural shift in terms of gender role expectations, acceptable mechanisms for conflict resolution and the unacceptability of violence5.
This will necessitate work with children to challenge gender stereotyping (e.g. masculine aggression and female passivity) and to promote non-violent conflict resolution skills. This could be reinforced by similar work with parents in relation to developing non-violent parenting and conflict resolution skills. This may need to be reinforced by sensitisation and advocacy work with existing community structures, leaders, and local agencies to promote the unacceptability of sexual violence and the adoption of appropriate social sanctions against its perpetrators6.
Certain institutions may be strongly associated with "cultures of violence" and their members may be among the likely perpetrators of sexual violence. Specific targeting may therefore be necessary in order to reach military, police and security personnel or inmates and staff in custodial settings, such as prisons.
The relationship between the structural determinants of sexual violence and development need must be better understood. It is highly likely that the same activities which address gender inequality (such as education for girls and women’s access to resources including credit), poverty and sustainable livelihoods, and which promote civil society participation and good governance will also be helpful to the prevention of sexual violence7.
Gender and sexual violence is not just an illusion. Treating sexual and gender based violence as exceptional likewise leaves the conditions and situation unchanged. The work of transformation, in Africa, as around the world, is slow, long, and necessary.
For further reading visit our current awareness section to view regular sexual violence news items.
  1. UN: The Dag Hammerskjold Library, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Available at and accessed on 28 October 2009.
  2. Moshenberg, Daniel: Sexual and gender based violence: every day, everywhere and yet … 16 September 2009. Available at
    and-gender-based-violence/ and accessed on 28 October 2009.
  3. Subscribe to the newsletter of the South African Sexual Violence Research Initiative at for more information.
  4. Moshenberg, Daniel: Sexual and gender based violence: every day, everywhere and yet … 16 September 2009. Available at
    -and-gender-based-violence/ and accessed on 28 October 2009.
  5. Crehan, K &  Gordon, P: Shades of sadness: gender, sexual violence and the HIV epidemic. Available at
    GenderSexualViolenceandHIV.doc and accessed on 31 October 2009.
  6. Ibid
  7. Ibid
Author: Pieter Visser
Reviewed by: Hendra van Zyl and Marike Kotze
Date: November 2009
Last updated: 11 November 2009
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Thursdays in Black.

PDF icon Flier.pdf3.02 MB

CABSA enthusiastically support the Thursdays in Black Campaign.Join us, sign the pledge, order buttons at

The campaign was spearheaded in South Africa by the Diakonia Council of Churches

They write as follows about this campaign:

"Thursdays in Black Campaign has its roots in groups such as Mothers of the Disappeared in Argentina, Black Sash in South Africa and the Women in Black movements in Bosnia and Israel. Thursdays in Black, as a human rights campaign, was started by the World Council of Churches during the 1980's as a peaceful protest against rape and violence - the by-products of war and conflict. The campaign focuses on ways that individuals can challenge attitudes that cause rape and violence."

"This campaign, which was launched in South Africa by the Diakonia Council of Churches during the 16 Days of Activism Campaign at the end of 2008, is an ongoing drive to raise awareness and encourage people to work towards a world without rape and violence against women and children."

"We encourage local churches to join hands with people around the world by wearing black on Thursdays to indicate that we are tired of putting up with rape and violence in our communities and that we have a desire for a community where we can all walk safely without fear of being beaten up, verbally abused, raped, of being discriminated against due to one’s gender or sexual orientation."

"Wearing black on Thursdays highlights the unacceptably high levels of abuse against women in our society."

"The response has been positive and many people, both women and men, have committed themselves to wearing black on Thursdays. This is an outward sign of mourning and of standing in solidarity with women who have died at the hands of their partners and signifies a desire to make a difference in our world."

"The buttons have been distributed at various workshops, where gender-based violence is addressed and where the links between HIV infection and gender injustice are stressed. The members of the Self Help Groups are being empowered to understand the implications of gender-based violence and many of them appreciate the opportunity of wearing black on Thursdays to highlight this debilitating scourge in our rural communities."

"Various churches have distributed the buttons and information leaflets at their Synods and other gatherings of church leaders. In the past three years approximately 6,000 buttons and flyers have been distributed – some as far afield as Cape Town. Diakonia Council of Churches’ website promoted the campaign during the 16 Days of Activism Campaign and this additional source of information solicited much interest."

"In recent months Women’s Manyano Organisations have promoted the Thursdays in Black Campaign to raise awareness on ‘Violence Against Women’ (and Children)."

If you would like more information about the Thursdays in Black Campaign or would like someone to address your church or organisation on this topic, please contact CABSA or the Diakonia Council of Churches office on [031] 310-3500.

You can order buttons or get more information from CABSA. Contact Lyn at o11 796 6830 or by e-mail.

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World Council Of Churches Campaign Against Violence Against Women. 25/11/09

Join the WCC in their campaign to stop violence against women:

Global Women of Faith Network. Your participation in the Restoring Dignity initiative so far has been inspiring. We appreciate your leadership and want to thank you for taking action at
Today marks the official launch of Phase II of the UN Secretary-General’s and UNIFEM’s Say NO—UNiTE initiative. The Say NO-UNiTE initiative will count actions by individuals, governments, civil society partners and faith-based partners. Please visit the Religions for Peace dedicated partner page on the Say NO website:
On this webpage, we invite you to create your own resources and actions, update photos from your interfaith event, and even link videos to youtube! And the best part, it’s very easy to use! But if you have any snags, email us at for technical support.    
TAKE YOUR FIRST ACTION TODAY! Sign the Call to Action to the UN Secretary-General by 23 November 2009.  
With much appreciation for your leadership and support on this momentous occasion,
Ms. Jacqueline Ogega
Religions for Peace
Director, Women's Mobilization Program
P.S. - Please help spread the word! Forward this email to everyone you know—friends, relatives, co-workers, your sisters and brothers in faith—and help RESTORE DIGNITY-End Violence Against Women.
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2009 International Women's Day - 08/03/09

IWD is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.

From the official International Women’s Day Website

International Women's Day has been observed since in the early 1900's, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.International Women's Day has grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration across developed and developing countries alike. For decades, IWD has grown from strength to strength annually. For many years the United Nations has held an annual IWD conference to coordinate international efforts for women's rights and participation in social, political and economic processes. 1975 was designated as 'International Women's Year' by the United Nations. Women's organisations and governments around the world have also observed IWD annually on 8 March by holding large-scale events that honour women's advancement and while diligently reminding of the continued vigilance and action required to ensure that women's equality is gained and maintained in all aspects of life.

2000 and beyond
IWD is now an official holiday in China, Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother's Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women's and society's thoughts about women's equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that 'all the battles have been won for women' while many feminists from the 1970's know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women's visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women's education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.

However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so the tone and nature of IWD has, for the past few years, moved from being a reminder about the negatives to a celebration of the positives.

Annually on 8 March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women's craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more.

Many global corporations have also started to more actively support IWD by running their own internal events and through supporting external ones. For example, on 8 March search engine and media giant Google some years even changes its logo on its global search pages. Year on year IWD is certainly increasing in status. The United States even designates the whole month of March as 'Women's History Month'.

So make a difference, think globally and act locally !! Make everyday International Women's Day. Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.


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Decrease Violence To Decrease Risk of HIV Among Woman and Girls.

(Global Health Council) Addressing violence against woman and HIV/AIDS simultaneously can reduce the incident of both and have a positive impact on the lives of woman and their families. This policy brief examines the way in which violence fuels increased HIV vulnerability for woman and girls. It highlights successfully and innovative efforts needed to prevent it and recommends policy action. Download PDF (257.91KB 4p)

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Ring The Bell. 25 Nov to 10 Dec 2008

Ring The Bell - 16 Days of Activism Campaign on Violence Against Women and Children

The Diakonia Council of Churches, The Centre for HIV/AIDS Networking (HIVAN/HIV-911) and the World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP) have partnered together for the 16 Days of Activism Campaign 2008.

The Campaign commences on 25 November and ends on 10 December and is designed to generate awareness of the plight of women, children and men who experience violence at the hands of others.

This year we have chosen the theme “Ring the Bell – Say NO to Violence”.  We trust that the campaign will encourage everyone to take a stand by “Ringing the Bell” on offenders – having courage to intervene.

A specific theme and colour has been chosen to mark each of the days of the campaign.  There are many ways to get involved, show your support, and simply take time to reflect during the 16 Days of Activism Campaign.


Campaign Theme
Women who are current being abused by their partners
Women who are or have escaped an abusive environment
Women killed at the hands of their of their abusive partners
Women who have survived rape, sexual abuse / harassment
Children who are victims or witness domestic violence in the home & sexual abuse
People / service providers who work within the field of GBV
Women / Children infected and affected by HIV
Men who work within the field of GBV or are taking a stand against GBV
Women who have survived rape, sexual abuse / harassment
Women killed at the hands of their of their abusive partners
People / service providers who work within the field of GBV
Women who are current being abused by their partners
Women / Children infected and affected by HIV
Men who work within the field of GBV or are taking a stand against GBV
Children who are victims or witness domestic violence in the home & sexual abuse
Women who are or have escaped an abusive environment
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Department of Basic Education (DBE) and LEAD



The Department of Basic Education (DBE) and LEAD SA have announced details of a major initiative to raise rape awareness and educate the 10,2-million learners in South African schools.

Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, said “The collective rage in the country had to be turned into tangible action.”

The Minister said she has today issued a directive to all provincial education departments to instruct schools across the country to call special assemblies at 8am on Friday, 1 March.

“Following the singing of the National Anthem, we want principals, educators, learners or activists to address the assemblies for 15 minutes about rape and sexual crimes. The focus will be on education/awareness and more importantly what to do.

“We also want to appeal to our learners to report any form of abuse from anyone to the authorities,” said Minister Motshekga.

In his reply to the State of the Nation address in the National Assembly yesterday, President Jacob Zuma commended the Department of Basic Education for “looking at inculcating values of nationhood at an early age, promoting rights and responsibilities among children.

“We acknowledge and applaud the good work of many civil society organisations that are raising awareness about violence against women and many other issues affecting society,” President Zuma added.

“The DBE will provide guidelines for the talks to the education departments as part of the directive,” she added.

In addition to these guidelines, NGOs are encouraged to assist with the mornings’ talks.


Rape Response booklet and Pledge

A pledge based on the Bill of Responsibilities, which includes a statement on violence and rape, will also be circulated and educators and learners are urged to adopt it at the assemblies.

Click here to view pledge

A downloadable rape response booklet and a poster which will help to guide educators on how to cope with this sensitive topic is also available.

Click here to view the 12-page rape response booklet
and here to view a poster on response protocol.

The pledge will be available in all 11 official languages.

The DBE has called on all schools to prepare worksheets for learners about violent and sexual crimes.

“We want boy and girl learners to complete these worksheets at home, with their families if possible, and return them to their teachers. It’s part of the education/awareness programme.”

The DBE said the school assemblies will be concluded by 8.30am.

Minister Motshekga said the initiative was “critical not only to highlight the rape bane but also to educate our children.”

“We have partnered with Lead SA like we did with the Bill of Responsibilities (BOR) and the Happy Birthday Madiba song.

“1 March is the start of Human Rights Month. We need to also teach our youth about their rights and responsibilities as per the BOR,” said Minister Motshekga.

Lead SA said the partnership with the DBE will go a long way in heightening awareness and education.

“We also hope the 10,2-million learners will take the messages home so that society at large can act. The ‘StopRape’ message needs to reach every corner of South Africa.”

Lead SA said it encouraged active citizenry. “Let’s all unite and fight rape with one voice.”

After the pledge has been taken by the millions of learners on 1st March, we encourage each and every citizen to also adopt it. “Take it to your offices, factories and homes… Say NO to rape.”

Minister Motshekga called on civil society to support the “StopRape” initiative.

Proudly South African and Shout SA have already come out in support of the awareness programme.

Proudly South African says it will also include the messaging in its national “Ubuntu schools” campaign which was launched shortly after the gang rape of a Soweto teenager in April last year.



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Say NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women

Say NoSay NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women is a global call for action, launched in November 2009, on ending violence against women and girls. It is presented by UNIFEM as a contribution to advance the objectives of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women through social mobilization. UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman is the Spokesperson of Say NO.

Based on country data available, up to 70 per cent of women experience physical or sexual violence from men in their lifetime. It happens everywhere – at home and at work, on the streets and in schools, during peacetime and in conflict. Violence against women and girls has far- reaching consequences, harming families and communities, stunting human development, and undermining economic growth. Everyone has a role to play in combating this global pandemic; the time to act together is NOW.

Say NO aims to trigger and highlight actions by individuals, governments and civil society partners. Actions can range from reaching out to students at schools, to volunteering at local shelters, advocating for legislation or donating funds towards programmes that protect women and girls from violence. Every action will be counted to showcase the global groundswell of engagement that exists on the issue. The initial target is to reach 100,000 actions by March 2010 and 1 million actions in one year.

Say NO builds upon the momentum generated during its first phase when 5,066,549 people signed on to a global call to make ending violence against women a top priority worldwide. Heads of States and Ministers from 69 Governments and more than 600 Parliamentarians have added their names to Say NO since then.

Working through traditional as well as online networks and social media, Say NO will engage participants from all walks of life. A range of web-based and other tools available on will support partners in their advocacy efforts, highlight their work to a global audience and inspire others.

In line with the Secretary-General’s campaign framework that calls for an increase in funding for the multi-lateral UN Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women, Say NO encourages donations for the UN Trust Fund, which supports local and national programmes catalyzing change on the ground.

Say NO - UNiTE to End Violence against Women is an expanding global coalition of individuals, organizations, governments and the private sector to realize a vision that is ambitious, but must never be impossible – a future that is free from violence against women and girls. Let us count you in – take action to end violence against women now.

More information and toolkit available on website.


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World YWCA International Women's Day Statement 25/03/09

Unite to end Violence Against Women
Every day, in many homes, women are beaten and abused. Violence against women is not only widespread-it is often fatal. The most common form of violence against women is domestic violence, but women and girls face abuse and violence at every stage of their lives. An extreme manifestation of gender inequality, violence against women is a global problem deeply ingrained in societies and has serious impacts on women's health and well-being. 

The elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls is a top priority for the World YWCA. In nearly 70 countries, YWCAs provide services for women facing violence and abuse. For many women, the YWCA represents a safe space. From shelters and safe houses run by YWCAs in the USA, Canada, Zambia and Sri Lanka to campaigns to prevent trafficking championed by YWCAs in Finland, Belarus, Albania and Samoa. National and local YWCAs around the world are committed to seeing an end to violence against women. Through advocacy and services, YWCAs are working to ensure women and girls in their
communities can live lives free of violence. 

On International Women's Day, the World YWCA calls on governments, international organisations and civil society to: 

1. Prevent violence, ensure safety and security for women and girls

In addition to carrying out research on the cause of violence, governments must take steps to prevent violence before it starts. A strategic way to prevent violence is to introduce and enforce laws that protect women-there must be no impunity for acts of violence against women. Governments must consider initiatives, such as the YWCA Canada 'Rose Button' campaign, that call for actions to prevent violence before it starts. 

One of the first obligations of CEDAW requires United Nations member states to entrench women's human rights in their constitutional and legal systems. Raising public awareness on laws that protect women is crucial in preventing violence against women. 

UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security calls on UN member states to take special measures to protect women and girls from violence, particularly in situations of armed conflict. Women's bodies must not be used to wage war. 

2. Invest in women and girls

Adequate and accessible funding must be provided for services that provide holistic care for survivors of violence. Women's right to information must be upheld. Lack of information prevents many women from accessing services that would support them to regain dignity in
their lives. 

Organisations running programmes such as shelters for women in violent relationship, help-lines and counseling facilities must be adequately financed to ensure their services remain reliable and accessible. As Governments consider their strategies to deal with the global
financial crisis, funding and support for social services must not be cut or reduced.

3. Redefine gender stereotypes

Governments must work with civil society to change negative stereotypes as a strategy to prevent violence against women.

Information and programmes that help young women and men develop healthy relationships are crucial in order eliminate negative stereotypes. A society that understands the impact and effects of violence against women is better versed to address the issues at government and policy level. Education on violence against women must be integrated in programmes that reach different sectors of society including men and boys. Programmes such as the YWCA Week Without Violence-commemorated annually in November around the world-help
educate communities on the types of violence women in their country face.

4. Understand intersectionality of HIV and VAW

Socio-economic factors and legal challenges that put many HIV-positive women at risk of violence must be addressed. The World YWCA is particular concerned about recent laws some countries are adopting that criminalize HIV. These laws have a particular impact on women and leave them vulnerable to violence. Governments, international organisations and civil society must ensure that laws and policies that uphold women's human rights are implemented in order to protect women from violence. 

The World YWCA joins with the global community to call for an end to violence against women and ensure women and girls can live lives free of violence.

The World YWCA is a global network of women and young women leading social and economic change in 125 countries. It advocates for peace, justice, human rights and care of the environment, and has been at the forefront of raising the status of women for over a century.

Contact Information


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