Fight domestic abuse, church says

2011-11-22 12:48
Johannesburg - Government, the public and churches must take action on violence against women and children, the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) said on Tuesday.

Johannesburg - Government, the public and churches must take action on violence against women and children, the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) said on Tuesday.

These groups need to "join forces to prevent the '16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women and Children' campaign from becoming another meaningless annual event on the nation’s calendar," said spokesperson Isak Burger.

The international campaign is held annually from November 25 until December 10 to raise awareness about the abuse of women and children. The period includes the international days for human rights, Aids and the elimination of violence against women and children.

55 000 women raped each year

He said South Africa was one of the most dangerous countries for women and children to live, with almost 55 000 women raped annually, according to crime statistics.

This was apart from other forms of sexual exploitation and abuse.

Burger said 25 000 children were sexually abused in South Africa per year.

"While these statistics may only be the tip of the iceberg, the persistently high figures prove that government has not done enough to combat the exploitation and abuse of vulnerable women and children in South Africa," he said.

The "fanfare" around the 16 days of activism yielded "very little results", and action, rather than rousing speeches and press statements, was needed to curb abuse.

Burger also criticised strip clubs and advertising campaigns that for degrading women and promoting adultery.

He said the Film and Publications Act made it a criminal offence to expose children to sexually explicit images, yet pictures of this nature adorned advertising billboards in public places.

"Despite the harm these billboards cause women and children and (their) illegal status, the city authorities have refused to immediately remove them." he said.

The public display of images that sexually demean and objectify women for commercial purposes should be banned to "give teeth" to the campaign, Burger said.

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