Helping children to end violence

Published: 19 Apr, 2015

Despite economic development and modern education, South Africa is facing widespread issues of sexual and physical assault towards woman. Every year, thousands of children are victims of abuse, neglect and exploitation. Most cases go unreported, as victims fear being ostracized by male community members. To combat the trait, community-based programs are engaging communities to teach girls that this is not ok.

Programs like The Young Reporters Network, which trains young female reporters in storytelling and journalism to prepare them to make appearances on nationwide radio stations. Reporters’ messages are often centered around violence and abuse, as these are sadly some of the most prominent issues affecting them.
15 year-old- Cindy is a reporter with the program. She says “Girls my age think sexual or physical assault is the norm when it comes to relationships. Violence and abuse are so common in my community that girls think that being hit by your boyfriend means that he loves you. Most women and girls will never speak out against their abusers, and their children will grow up so used to violence that they will simply repeat the behaviour they saw while growing up. It’s a vicious cycle.”

There are dozens of programs through ought the country aimed at ending this epidemic, but protecting vulnerable children and preventing abuse is no simple task. These programs focus on the role of total community awareness in addressing violence and abuse and aim to improve access to both preventative and response services including medical, legal and psychosocial support.

While ending physical and sexual violence for all women and children across South Africa remains a daunting task, these efforts are vital to upholding a new way of thinking and sparking lasting change.

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