Help is out there – that was the message from SAPS as it promoted the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign for the homeless in Claremont on Monday.
The annual campaign, which started on Saturday November 25 and will run until Sunday December 10, raises awareness about the abuse of women and children.
Claremont police officers – along with the Claremont Improvement District Company, the Lotus Street Foundation, Sisters Incorporated, Men Standing Tall and U-Turn – met with about 50 homeless people at a Campground Road parking lot and reminded them about the importance of speaking out about abuse.
“Victims need to know that they have rights, and many victims don’t understand that they are being abused as abuse comes in many forms,” said Warrant Officer Lutchmee Chetty.
Reporting abuse to the police ultimately helped to save lives, she said, adding: “Tolerating abuse leads to depression, anxiety, suicide and murder.”
Danya Goosen, the founder of the Lotus Foundation, which is based in Elsies River and promotes positive societal change on the Cape Flats, said 16 Days was a “collective call to ensure that no woman or child should ever endure the pain of violence”.
She added: “Each and every one of you deserves safety, respect, and a future free from fear.”
Dennis Stander, the founder of the Men Stand Tall non-profit from Bridgetown, said men needed to stand up for what was right.
“Whenever there are important criminal court cases, it can’t just be women standing up with signs. Men need to stand up as well.”
His organisation uses drama therapy to teach men how to deal with mental health issues.
U-Turn service manager Fernando Classen said the campaign was important because many homeless people experienced abuse but lacked information on how to escape from it.
According to the latest SAPS crime statistics, 10 516 rape cases were reported countrywide from the beginning of July to the end of September this year – a 0.7% drop from the 10 590 cases reported for the same period last year.
To report abuse, call Warrant Officer Chetty at 079 894 1492. – Wesley Ford, Southern Suburbs Tatler
Photo: Southern Suburbs Tatler/Wesley Ford