Children speak out against violence

The Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children hosted their annual “Air Your Dirty Laundry" event, which culminated in hundreds of T-shirts with powerful messages speaking out against violence, hung-up on makeshift washing lines.

The event, which took place at the Centre in Manenberg on 3 December, forms part of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children national campaign.

Read: Effects of domestic violence on kids

More than 400 children from surrounding areas together with representatives from the South African Police force, the Ottery Fire Department and Melomed Ambulance Services, painted T-shirts with powerful anti-violence messages.

The event began with an anti-violence pledge and then some encouragement from Manenberg police spokesperson Lieutenant Ian Bennett. 

Established 16 years ago, the Centre has assisted more than 179,000 victims of crime and violence.


Read: Any solutions for violence against women?

Over  the past few years, they have seen a 65% increase in the number of women and children seeking assistance at their shelter.

The “Air Your Dirty Laundry” campaign gives children an artistic platform where they can speak out against violence. "Children are silenced far too often from speaking out," Said Shaheema Mcleod, Director of the centre

Since the launch of their children’s programme in 2013, the Centre has been inundated with requests for assistance from the community.

Read: The global state of violence against women in 2015 

“Lack of resources, high levels of violence in schools, family and the broader community, a dysfunctional justice system and the increased abuse of drugs and alcohol are fuelling an already volatile situation,” says McLeod.

“Regardless of what day or year it is, violence is not acceptable. Air Your Dirty Laundry! Giving children a voice through the creative process, is sending a strong message against violence,” McLeod concluded. 

Read more: 

Domestic violence slows kids' development 

Family violence leads to obese kid 

Violent relationships negative for parenting  

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