Nothing to celebrate

This was no average women’s month. Aside from the lockdown, which kept most South Africans home, the traditional well wishes for women on social media were overshadowed and replaced with call for justice.

Domestic abuse and the murder of women and girls (dubbed femicide) in South Africa are always highlighted this time of year. Although in 2020, the message was clear: Don’t celebrate women if you are not going to protect them.

Part of the call for justice is as a result of the spike in domestic abuse cases following the national lockdown. According to an article by Eyewitness News, more than 120 000 people called the national helpline for abused women and children – double the usual number.

Unfortunately, women with disabilities often are at more risk of abuse than their peers without disabilities.

It is also inspired by the worldwide outrage at continued injustices such as the Black Lives Matter and Me Too movements – the latter of which addresses the sexual harassment of women in the workplace.

So, how can you help? First, if you see something, say something. Ask your friend or family member whether they need assistance and what you can do to help. Remember that some domestic abuse situations can be life or death for the woman or child involved. Practice discretion at all times.

Second, donate to women shelters whether it is money, clothing, food or your time. Third, share important information around domestic abuse so that we can raise more awareness around these issues. If you or a loved one are experiencing abuse, contact the national domestic violence helpline at 0800 150 150.

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