How you can make a difference during the 16 Days of Activism … and beyond - Medshield

COVID-19 Online Resource & News Portal - Emergency Hotline: 0800 029 999 - WhatsApp Support Line: 0600-123456

  086 000 2120

Medshield Articles

Interesting articles about the Medical Aid industry and Medshield position in it

Read More

How you can make a difference during the 16 Days of Activism … and beyond

Posted in Medshield Medical Scheme   |   December 2nd, 2019

The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children is campaign that takes place from 25 November to 10 December annually to address violence against women and children.

The most vulnerable members of our society – women and children – are most often the victims of violence, and as ordinary citizens we may feel helpless to combat this. Medshield takes the matter seriously and we thought we’d share a few suggestions on how you can make a difference during this period and beyond …

Have the uncomfortable conversations

Combating violence against women and children will not happen if only half the population is talking about it – men have to play their part, too. According to a 2019 study by Brazilian gender relations organisation Promundo, actions that can be taken include speaking up when witnessing harassment or abuse, having conversations with other men about abuse, and accepting that all these conversations may not be comfortable but are vital.

Understand the building blocks of abuse

We get outraged at gruesome violence, but what is often overlooked is how the “small” acts of violence embolden the perpetrators of violence in our society. This can be as simple as the language used when speaking to and about women and children. The lack of agency and self-ownership afforded to women leads to some men feeling entitled to women’s time and bodies, and being violent towards them. This lack of agency also happens regarding children, which results in parents treating their children however they wish, as the children are not seen as complete human beings who deserve agency and respect.

Discard bigoted ideas of how women and children should be treated

The insistence that different genders have inherent characteristics unique to them – for example, the societal pressure on men not to express emotions or on women to be submissive – can lead to imbalanced power dynamics that in turn can lead to abuse.

Barring girls from accessing education and pursuing careers of their choice – or any careers at all – because of gender stereotypes also leads to loss of agency and self-sufficiency, which them makes them more vulnerable to abuse. There are also instances where children behaving in ways that are atypical of their gender can lead to parents being abusive. This has to be addressed and stopped.

Believe survivors

Although statistics from several sources indicate that incidents of false accusations for gender-based crimes are no higher than any other crime, these crimes, for some reason, can elicit doubt when discussed. Rape Crisis Scotland cites several studies that show that false accusations for rape make up between 3% and 8% of reported rapes, while a 2010 US study places this number between 2% and 10%. These are both within a range common for false reporting of other crimes. Yet gender-based violence and rape crimes often see victims not believed. Further, research shows that gender-based crimes are under-reported, which means many victims do not receive the help they so desperately need.

Stop victim-blaming

Apart from assumptions that rape accusations are false, when victims are, in fact, believed, some people then blame the victims for their experience. Questions such as, “What was she doing out at night?” or “What was she wearing?” when women are the victims of sexual violence, or questioning why victims stay in relationships in cases of physical abuse, are damaging, not only to current victims, but to future victims, too, because they embolden perpetrators. When the victim is blamed, would-be perpetrators may feel justified in their actions because the victims are “asking for it”. Blame should be placed entirely on the shoulders of the perpetrators.

Support care organisations

Organisations such as People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA), the Thuthuzela Care Centre and Childline always need support. You can help either with donations or by giving your time as a volunteer (they deal with numerous cases at any given time and the load can be heavy). These organisations help to empower vulnerable members of society and offer support if they fall victim to violence.

We can all make a difference, even in the smallest ways. All it takes is caring enough to do something about it.


September 29, 2021

Medshield and Elevate Competition Terms and Conditions

Read Article

August 13, 2021

#WeThrive Women’s Month Competition

Read Article

July 17, 2021

Eye Health and Tips

Read Article

June 18, 2021

How to look after your Mental Health

Read Article

June 1, 2021

Men’s Health Month

Read Article

May 17, 2021

Hypertension: All you need to know

Read Article