Jentile believes that there is a need for sustainable campaigns that won’t die down after a mere 16 days.
“We reject these 16 days, there is a lot of noise that is being made around these 16 days but when it dies down what does that mean? Does it mean that we have forgotten about women who are suffering from abuse till the next ‘16 days’?” said Jentile.
Violence against women and children impacts on every aspect of life in South Africa. There are different forms of abuse that women and children my experience which includes emotional abuse, physical abuse, rape, sexual harassment, child abuse and financial abuse.
The 16 Days of Activism is a worldwide campaign opposing violence against women and children, with the aim of raising awareness of the negative impact violence and abuse have on women and children and society as a whole. The campaign takes place from 25 November until 10 December.
“The 16 Days campaign does have an impact but only to a certain extent, but we need to be aware that gender based violence happens every day,” said Palesa Mpapa, legal and training manager at People Opposed to Women Abuse (POWA).
Mpapa wished that campaigns like this could happen every day. “It should be a whole year campaign and not just for 16 days,” Mpapa said.
Some of the objectives of the 16 Days campaign are:
- Encouraging all South Africans to be active participants in the fight to eradicate violence against women and children;
- Combining technology, social media, the arts, journalism, religion, culture and customs, business and activism to draw attention to the many ways violence against women and children affects the lives of all people in all communities around the world;
- Ensuring mass mobilisation of all communities to promote collective responsibility in the fight to eradicate violence, and
- Emphasising the fact that the solution lies within all of us.
Despite their efforts in launching the campaign, some organisations still believe that the government is not doing enough to create solutions.
“Our government is not doing enough to help solve the gender based violence our country is facing, they launch campaigns and then they die down. They do not offer support to civil rights movements. Every time we ask them for help they say that they do not have the budget to help us, or the resources,” said Jentile.
According to Jentile, men who have abused women need to first admit that they are guilty so that corrective steps or actions can be taken.
“We need to challenge the social construction of masculinity and get rid of toxic masculinity,” said Jentile.