“Walk a mile in my shoes” was the theme of Strandfontein Community Police Forum’s (CPF) event held on Saturday December 10, the last day of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign.
Strandfontein came to a standstill as a procession of residents with banners and more than 15 cars from the 6 N Alpha Polo Crew made its way down Dennegeur Avenue.
The event was organised by the CPF in partnership with Windows of Heaven church and the Polo Crew.
Members of Strandfontein Neigbourhood Watch and Strandfontein SAPS also attended the walk which started at Strandfontein library and ended at the “Blou Dakke” municipal buildings.
Strandfontein CPF chairperson Sandy Schuter said the aim of the walk had been to create awareness about various types of abuse and domestic violence.
“It is alive and real in Strandfontein. Many residents are in denial but people are being abused and raped in this neighbourhood. Violence against women and children is unacceptable and we are encouraging victims of abuse to stand up and break the silence,” she said.
Ms Schuter said there had been two cases of rape in Strandfontein this year, one of which involved a 24-year-old woman who was raped by four men, and another in which a woman was raped near a bus stop in Standfontein.
“These are just two cases, but there are more. There are women who are in abusive relationships, become depressed and then commit suicide. We have a picture of a woman on the banner who was in an abusive relationship, ran away six times from her own place, and her abuser fetched her.
“She could not stand it anymore became depressed and took her life,” she said.
Ms Schuter added that there had been eight suicides in one year, related to domenstic violence in Strandfontein.
Pastor Merle Thomas from Women of Hope at Windows of Heaven, said women need to know that they were valuable and important to society. “It is time to speak out and make a change in your lives. The cycle of abuse has to stop.
“We came out to show our support to those who have been abused. I was disappointed in the number of people who attended, but nevertheless we are here to support the victims of abuse,” she said.
Strandfontein Neighbourhood Watch chairperson, Evan Pienaar, said the event was a great initiative and as a safety structure, they would continue fighting against crime, through community projects and patrols
Strandfontein Neighbourhood Watch public relations officer, Levan Jacobs, said during the 16 Days of Activism campaign they had conducted mass patrols with the CPF.
“It is important for the safety structures to be visible in the community, so that they know we are here to support them. Residents are once again encouraged to contact us, and also join the safety structures,” he said.