By: Tinashe Wakapila

On 6 June 2011, Government launched the Strategy and Guidelines on Children Working and Living in the Streets. This Strategy provides guidance on the services and programmes to be rendered to children living and working in the streets.

The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children is an international awareness-raising campaign. It takes place every year from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day). The period includes Universal Children’s Day and World AIDS Day.

Why is it so much of significant to us as the LGBTI SOCIETY is what I am going to outline right here. For the benefit of the females in the acronym, it is standing in for our rights and what we stand for. Throughout the 16 Days of Activism we are really being recognised, as for the Male people of the acronym the 10th of December is Human Rights Day. During our Pride celebration in July we marched and agreed in standing in for Humanity Beyond Identity. This is the reason why we must participate in different spaces, for the betterment and recognition of ourselves.

This year’s campaigns, 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children (16 Days campaign) and for World Aids Day, are important because we commemorate many milestones. The year 2016 marks 62 years since the signing of the Women’s Charter on 17 April 1954 in Johannesburg; 22 years of freedom and democracy in South Africa and 18 years of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign.

South Africa adopted the campaign in 1998 as one of the intervention strategies towards creating a society free of violence. The campaign continues to raise awareness amongst South Africans about the negative impact of violence against women and children

The objectives of the 16 Days Campaign are to attract all South Africans to be active participants in the fight under the theme “Count me in: Together moving a non-violent South Africa forward. Violence against women and children comes in different forms, physical violence in the form of domestic violence, terrible violent crime such as murder, robbery, rape and assault. Emotional violence and trauma at many levels caused by many factors. Women and children in their homes, at work, at schools, on our streets, in our communities suffer this form of violence for various reasons.

Together as LGBTI, we need to take action and support the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign and participate in the various events and activities of the same nature. We need to volunteer in support of NGOs and community groups who support abused women and children not only are we taking a stand to the good cause of the society, we also want to see our future leaders be raised in a conducive environment. Using our skills and knowledge to help the victims of abuse may go a long way, speak out against woman and child abuse, encourage silent female victims to talk about abuse and ensure that they get help.

Report child abuse to the police, encourage children to report bully behaviour to school authorities. Men and boys are encouraged to talk about abuse and actively discourage abusive behaviour. Seek help if you are emotionally, physically or sexually abusive to your partner and/or children. Call the Stop Gender Based Violence helpline (0800 150 150), Talk to friends, relatives and colleagues to take a stand against abuse of women and children. Spread the message on social media using #16Days2016

Boy had I missed you dearly