Safeline Child Abuse Treatment and Prevention Centre highlighted the importance of speaking out against abuse in communities through a march and placard demonstration on Monday, November 27.
The march coincided with the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign, a United Nations campaign that takes place annually from November 25 (International Day of No Violence against Women) to December 10 (International Human Rights Day).
Safeline with partnering organisations Mitchell’s Plain Network Opposing Abuse, Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Cape Flats, Family and Marriage Society of South Africa (FAMSA), National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and ward committee member, Carol Mentor, took to the streets from Pontiac Street to Town Centre.
“Communities must continue to speak out against gender-based violence. It is important for our women and children to know that they are not alone,” said director of the Beacon Valley-based Safeline centre, Rochelle Philander.
Through Safeline’s intake it is clearly noted that many of the alleged perpetrators are family members or people who have a close relationship with the child. This and the fact that many women suffer financial abuse, leads to the non-reporting of any form of abuse, said Ms Philander.
Stakeholders create safe spaces within their institution for women and children to come and disclose any form of abuse suffered, she said.
Mitchell’s Plain SAPS Constable Enrich Nicke, from their domestic violence department, informed everyone about the victim support rooms. “It’s child-friendly and a safe environment led by our volunteers.”
The NPA, Mitchell’s Plain Network Opposing Abuse and YMCA, spoke about their support for victims and families.
“It is clear today that stakeholders in Mitchell’s Plain have created safe spaces for our women and children to share their horrific stories and to gain strength through the support of others to see the reported process through,” she said.
Ms Mentor, ward committee member for the vulnerable group, expressed her sadness when looking back at how violently she lost her granddaughter. She urged parents to protect their children by creating safe spaces for them, emphasising that parents should know their child’s whereabouts.
“Safeline believes this is especially true as we approach the December school holidays where children will be left alone at times, unsupervised,” said Ms Philander.
“16 Days of Activism is about bringing awareness to the violence within our communities. If we reach out to the supportive groups, as people of Mitchells Plain, we’d begin to create safer schools, spaces within our family structures and communities,” said Ms Philander.
“We will have created children who believe they have a voice which will be heard in our systems, this will create a future generation free from gender-based violence,” she said.
Sharifa Jansen, Safeline social work supervisor, said they’re making a difference.
“We can’t do this alone or work in isolation, our whole referral system needs to constantly work together. Children and families are in our best interest. We should have their best interest at heart. It starts with each individual to try and heal people, restore people and society. It’s not just a profession, it’s a calling,” she said.
Maria Marthinus, administrator for Mitchell’s Plain Network Opposing Abuse, said raising awareness about gender-based violence is important.
“Wherever you find yourselves you must not be silent about it, you must speak out. There is always help as so many organisations can assist you in this regard,” she said.
For more information contact the Mitchell’s Plain Network Opposing Abuse on 021 376 0445 or 0459 or email email@example.com and Safeline can be contacted for help on their toll-free number on 08000 35553.