Mr Faiez Jacobs, MP (Athlone Parliamentary Constituency Office)

Violence is a daily lived reality for many women and children.

The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children is a global campaign to end the terror of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) enacted against vulnerable members of our community, such as women, children, and members of the LGBTQI+ community. The campaign is observed from 25 November – 10 December.

The campaign calls for awareness, action and accountability all year round, and for us all to do our bit to end this global pandemic.

In response to this call, colleagues from the Athlone PCO under the leadership of Mr Faiez Jacobs, MP, attended a hybrid launch of a pilot project: Interventions on Non-Custodial Measures for Women in Conflict with the Law (WICL) held on Tuesday, 30 November at the Athlone Stadium, in Cape Town.

In the lead-up to attendance, representation and participation of Athlone PCO at the launch Mr Jacobs indicated that violence against women and children is one of the “most invasive of viruses in the Athlone constituency that covers Bridgetown, Bokmarie, Kewtown, and Athlone in the Western Cape, followed by gang violence and substance abuse that robs children of their lives and youth.” Mr Jacobs is also the Whip of the Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development. He strongly supports the view that GBVF programmes “require a cohesive multi-sectoral approach and working together with key stakeholders in the Athlone magisterial district, as well as in the province, and that the intention is not to reinvent the wheel, but to amplify and strengthen existing programmes and projects in the community.” He also welcomed the support of Parliament’s Public Education Office and representatives from the Parliamentary Communication Services.

Caroline Peters who is an activist in the Athlone constituency and also the Western Cape Provincial Co-ordinator of South African Women in Dialogue (SAWID) is integrally involved with the WICL pilot in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on non-custodial measures for women offenders in South Africa. She stated that the “Athlone magisterial district shows the highest numbers of female offenders and women in conflict with the law.” She indicated the need to “learn more about how community members can lobby Parliament and Members of Parliament to actively support important initiatives in communities and other grassroots programmes that can make a real difference in the social and economic life of our communities.”

The success of the 16 Days of Activism campaign rests on our daily individual and collective actions to safeguard our society against the cycle of abuse against women and children.