Imagine if, for 16 days, there was no rape, no child abuse. The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign challenges South Africans to declare a truce on violence against women and children - and, ultimately, to make it a permanent one. As we all know that women are taught from an early age that what happens inside the home should stay inside the home, and that the relationship between husband and wife is no one’s business other than their own. Speaking about their relationship to others can be used as justification for divorce.
On the 26th November members of the Sisterhood and V-Woman stood up in this campaign and took off to the streets of Johannesburg CBD with the aim of breaking the silence, holding posters they marched through the streets
The campaign also aimed to:
Challenge the perpetrators of violence to change their behaviour. Involve men in helping to eradicate violence. Provide survivors with information on services and organisations that can help lessen the impact of violence on their livesAfter the march these determined women stood by the corners of the streets handing out pamphlets inviting both young and old women to come listen ad get information on how they can also break this silence. At about 12 noon the presentation began with Bp Gerald marshaling in prayer then, Mrs.n Pinkie took over by giving an example of how one carries a burden of abuse silence and introduced Ms. Grace and Mrs. Bongi who came in front to tell us about there own brush and experiences in abuse, a clip was then shown which was a great eye opener.As much as I have been blessed by this event I know many others were also, for the simple fact that a window to their minds were open letting light in to shine upon that which they have kept in silence for so long, thinking that no one understood, no one cared, if they were to speak they’ll only be re-abused, so their only conclusion was to keep quiet and suffer in silence. We had about 200+ ladies and more trooping in as the event went on.Abuse – no matter what form it takes, verbal, emotional, and physical – it’s still abuse, and no one should be subjected to such. While observing the people during the time of the testimonies I could see hope on their faces, because finally what they’ve been through or going through there’s someone who understood, there’s someone who was ready to listen to their pain and help them out. Two people caught my attention during the moment, a Mama who was crying silently and a young girl who got up and walk out, but was happy to see one of the wives followed her – they took a long time out there, I later learned that the girl, only 16, was raped by her step-father friend and is now HIV+. The wall that separated the victims from healing was brought down that day, as Grace who was giving her testimony said “I took back the power the devil had stolen from me and began to fight”, it’s the same that happened that day, those ladies gained back their power to stand up and fight, for some who couldn’t talk at that very moment, they made appointments with wives to come and speak to them.
Mrs. Donna Owumbiko