Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, violence within the country has intensified, particularly domestic violence towards women and children. Dubbed the Shadow Pandemic, it has grown amidst the pandemic and to put an end to these horrors, we require a global collective effort.
The fight against the abuse of women and children is something that is not new to South Africa and was something Professor Russel Botman was acutely aware of. Thus, his approach to life in all spheres, not only education, included women and he offered equal opportunities to both men and women in his bursaries at Stellenbosch University. By doing so, he was offering individuals not only opportunities, but hope.
However, it seems that still more needs to be done within the state to prioritize the importance and safety of our women and children, as well as to address the response and recovery efforts to the violence that persist against our country’s grandmothers, mothers, daughter, sisters, and future.
Intimate partner violence, sexual violence and harassment, human trafficking, female genital mutilation, and child marriage are all forms of abuse that we collectively need to stand up and fight against.
In contributing to this fight against violence, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women has chosen this year’s theme as ‘Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!’ and is calling on everyone to participate in this movement. In keeping with previous years, this years International Dal will mark the launch of 16 Days of Activism and will conclude on International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2021.
Let’s make a difference and stand together by participating either in person, or on social media. Start your own conversation about gender-based violence by using the hashtags #GenerationEquality, #OrangeTheWorld, #16Days, and #SpreadTheWord.
Fight for the future of our country and give voice to the voiceless by participating in this year’s event! We need to bring home to all women and children who are living through these forms of violence and do what we can to provide support and alternatives to those suffering. In our fight to eradicate violence against women and children, we should also strive to keep our students experiencing this lived reality in mind. Thus, we are calling on you to donate towards the Russel Botman Bursary Fund and help those individuals experiencing these types of violence to create abetter present for themselves and their families.