To commemorate the annual 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign, the Mitchell’s Plain Network Opposing Abuse held an inter-cultural white prayer day at the Westridge Gardens on Thursday November 23.
The international campaign runs from Saturday November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to Sunday December 10 (International Human Rights Day).
The aim of the prayer day was to commemorate the victims of abuse and violent crimes, those who lost their lives, and children who went missing over the years.
In attendance at the event were Crisis Line, Angels of Love, the Mitchell’s Plain Gospel Outreach String Band and members of the Mitchell’s Plain police station’s Victim Support Unit.
Mareldea Sonday, operations manager at the Mitchell’s Plain Network Opposing Abuse, said their organisation aimed to empower victims and survivors of crimes, and to promote and advocate for the prevention of crime and violence.
“Too many children and women are being abused daily. We are here for the victims and survivors, and offer our services to family members who have lost loved ones due to violent crimes and fatal diseases. Parents also have the responsibility to take care of their children, and don’t take anything for granted,” she said.
The network has lay counsellors who provide crisis intervention and debriefing at the Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s Court and assist with making applications for protection orders and peace orders.
They also deal with trauma and offer trauma counselling and formal debriefing by an experienced social worker who is also a skilled therapist.
Sergeant Patrick Mavume from the Mitchell’s Plain police station’s Victim Support Unit said it was important to raise awareness about gender violence as domestic violence and abuse were on the increase. “We are encouraging residents to report these crimes. Do not suffer in silence. The cycle of violence has to stop. You usually find that the perpetrators are abusing substances and then abuse their partners and children. The police are here for victims of abuse. We take these crimes seriously and there are organisations like the network to assist you,” he said.