LIFELINE Pietermaritzburg will be raising awareness about gender-based violence differently this year to mark the beginning of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children during the first silent march and “die in” set to take place next Wednesday, 25 November.
“For decades people run campaigns and marches and send messages about stopping gender-based violence, but then, when the 16 days are up, people forget because it’s easier to forget something that has been told to you. That is why we decided to do something visual this year. The ‘die in will symbolise the lives lost as a result of GBV,” Lifeline director, Sinikiwe Biyela said.
Biyela said people are likely to remember a visual representation of how GBV affects people rather than reading information about it. She added that the whole day of activities is designed to encourage people to speak out if they know of, or are victims of GBV. The march will begin at Thandanani in Langalibalele Street and make its way to the Bessie Head Library where the die in will take place. Thereafter a debriefing session will take place at the Msunduzi Voortrekker Museum complex.
Biyela said T-shirts will be available for GBV survivors and supporters. There will also be counsellors at the march who will be easily identifiable should there be anyone in need.
“We just want to do something different and show the possible end result of GBV. We want to tell women that they do not have to reach that point. The fact that we will be having the die in, but then wake up again, that in itself represents a second chance for victims. We want to give them hope for their future,” said Biyela.
Lifeline and its partner organisation Aids Health Care Foundation of South Africa, hope that the event encourages women to come forward to get the support they need to deal with these issues.
Although the 16 days ends on 10 December, awareness and facilities needed to help women in these circumstances will not come to an end as Lifeline will be open throughout the festive season.
“Incidents of GBV tend to increase over the festive season and it’s largely related to increased alcohol consumption. It’s the same every December so we cannot close our doors at a time when we are needed, that is why we remain open,” said Biyela.
Lifeline encourages everyone to be a part of the march, including other organisations that deal with GBV issues. For more information contact its offices at 033 342 4447 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
“We need to go beyond the march, beyond 16 days, in order to help those people who are victims of GBV. We hope the march helps at least some people to come forward, speak out and get help,” she said.