The South African Council of Churches (SACC) held a special service in commemoration of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign
The service at the Zonnebloem Chapel on Sunday November 27 was organised by the Fikelela Aids Project and led by its director, Beverley Hendricks.
In the run-up to the service, they collected face-cloths, sanitary pads, deodorants, toothbrushes and other items for survivors of abuse through their Care Pack Drive. Members also committed to wearing black every Thursday in support of the campaign.
The UN campaign runs annually from November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) until December 10 (International Human Rights Day).
Speaking at the service, Dr Lionel Louw, provincial head of the SACC, said the violence against women and children was inhumane, and men should advocate for women and children daily and not just during the campaign.
“We need to teach our young boys that violence against females is wrong, and we need to teach our young girls that it’s wrong and they should not accept it,” he said.
Dr Louw thanked the community for supporting the collection drive, saying he was overwhelmed by the response.
“Giving to the drive was a tangible way to get involved. I am so grateful for everyone who gave,” he said.
Guest speaker Juanne Waites, a social worker and member of The Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa, spoke about her experience in the field and how there had been an increase in abuse cases during lockdown.
“The 16 Days is a global campaign, which tells you that it is not just a South African problem but a worldwide problem. The problem is that people don’t want to get involved, but we need to break the cycle,” she said.
Ms Waites told how a woman ended up in a coma because she gave her partner Aromat instead of salt and how a father beat his own child to death. As a mother of three boys, she said she was teaching them to respect women.
“We often think that it is only in poor areas where this is happening, but you would be surprised at what is happening behind closed doors in the affluent areas, regardless of whether the man is a doctor or lawyer,” she said.
Fikelela Aids Project Aids Project also held a lunchtime service in commemoration of World Aids Day on Thursday December 1.