16 Days of Activism is a time when we reflect as a nation and show solidarity and join the world in calling for an end to Gender-Based Violence under the banner ‘Orange the World: End Violence Against Women Now!’ It is an opportunity to strengthen efforts towards peace, unity, tolerance and above all, respect for the self and for others.
Today I want to take time again to take stock and reflect on the importance of men and women making more space for each other so that we can have a stronger and better relationship between men and women. For too long we have allowed gender differences to separate us.
We share a noble commitment to a world free from violence for all women and girls. The government has embraced zero tolerance and says NO to gender-based violence, NO to sexual harassment, and NO to sexual exploitation and abuse in any way and form. We are fully supportive of all initiatives that elevate human dignity and well-being for all.
Reducing violence against women and girls requires a community-based approach and sustained engagement with multiple stakeholders. There is a stronger need to focus on education, awareness, capacity building, agency, and community engagement to be able to bring about the change we want and reach the ultimate goal which is to reduce violence against women and girls. All these to happen as early as possible and at the school level.
As we come to the end of these 16 Days of Activism, let us remind ourselves that the well-being and future of our families depend very much on how strong the bonds are between the men and women in our communities, therefore I urge every one of us to think on how we can prevent, help and build violence-free homes and communities a better place. Let us not forget, it is the right of every one of us to live in peace.
by Theslin Liebenberg