Continuing the fight against Gender Based Violence
How often do you hear stories about women and girls being abused Choma? Probably very often and that's because violence against women is still such a huge issue around the world, and especially in our country. We continue to have campaigns, like 16 Days of Activism or Choma’s #DoneWithSilence, but have you ever wondered, Choma, what more can be done to contribute to the fight against gender-based violence? While campaigns against gender-based violence continue, here are a few ways we can continue the fight:
Continue creating awareness
You’ll be surprised how many women across South Africa don’t know that they’re in an abusive relationship or about the many forms abuse can take, and so they might not think they are victims of abuse. This is why campaigns never stop creating awareness about this, especially because gender-based-violence is an on-going phenomenon.
We have to continuously make people aware of gender-based violence, reminding them that the problem still exists and that help is always needed to help combat abuse. In many instances boys see abusive behaviour in their peers or relatives growing up and might not recognize their behavior as abuse but as a ‘normal’ way to treat women. This needs to end and it will only end the more people know that abuse against women is neither normal nor right, and is certainly not legal. Whether you’re male or female, being educated about abuse is an important step towards fighting and ending it.
Prioritising Women Empowerment
Empowerment is necessary for all women – for those who have survived abuse, are still going through abuse and those who are at risk of abuse.
The reality is that many women in abusive relationships are more likely to stay in the abusive relationship because they fear being left homeless and without financial support. They might also fear being judged by others, or further punished by their partners if they speak out.
Empowering women in an effort to fight gender-based violence means not victim-shaming women, but rather teaching women that their safety, lives and mental, emotional and physical wellbeing all matter. It also means educating women and giving them more opportunities in the workspace so that they are less financially dependent on a partner. And it means protecting women in the street, in schools, at work and in their homes.
The more we bring up these points when we speak about ending gender based violence - the more we spread the idea and get others to act on it.
Making Help available everywhere
The reality is that not everyone has access to the internet, television or any form of technological devices that distributes information. Some women live in areas that are impoverished or are from low income families that are being abused and have no clue what to do or where to go for help.
This is why help and resources should be made available in as many places as possible. Shelters should be made available for women and further help in terms of counseling and continuing with their lives after surviving abuse.
Although more can be done to make help more accessible to abused women, there are existing spaces that put in a lot of effort to provide women with the help they need.
If you know someone who needs help, contact POWA (People Opposing Women Abuse). They’re a national organization that helps women all over the country escape abusive relationships and also recover from them. You can give them a call on 0116424345 or visit their website here. They also have an app for reporting abuse which you can download here.
There is also the Choma Dreams Cafe which offers a fun safe space for young girls. If you would like to know if there is a Choma Dreams Cafe near you, contact me here.
There’s a lot that can be done to contribute towards the fight against gender-based violence and the more vocal we are about the changes we need to see, the more we pressure people to change their behavior towards women.
Do you have your own ideas of how we can continue the fight against gender-based violence? Don’t be afraid to make your noise about it Choma. Voice your opinion on factors that can contribute to the fight against Gender based violence on Make a Noise, using the hashtag #DoneWithSilence.
Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657)
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