Dawn in anti-abuse launch

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THE DA Women’s Network ( Dawn ) launched its provincial campaign of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence in the Wesley Methodist Church Hall on Monday.

The event started with a vigil and a release of blue balloons for Petro Nel, one of the founding mothers of  Dawn , who died in an aircraft accident in Nepal.

DA national spokeswoman and member of the Gauteng legislature MPL Refiloe Ntsekhe, who was supposed to have been the guest speaker, could unfortunately not attend.

SIXTEEN DAYS: Eastern Cape DA Women’s Network chairwoman and MPL Celeste Barker and provincial chairwoman MPL Veliswa Mvenya at the provincial launch of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence at the Methodist Church Hall on Monday Picture: ABONGILE SOLUNDWANA

Provincial chairwoman MPL Veliswa Mvenya said the event was not restricted to women only and that men were also invited.

She said, however, men had an attitude towards attending the campaign because they felt they were being accused of abusing women. They should as a matter of fact attend to defend themselves and say this would not happen in their name.

“We must encourage them to become part of this movement, for those who are abused to see its end and the abuser to lose the behaviour.”

Mvenya encouraged women to be supportive of one another. Women in society blamed victims of abuse for what had happened to them saying they had brought it on themselves. This type of behaviour needed to stop, Mvenya said.

Eastern Cape  Dawn  chairwoman person and MPL Celeste Barker said, “Dawn functions to make the changes we want to see in society. Our current focus is on the 16 Days of Activism campaign by making things better for women and children who are victims, to bring back self-esteem where it has been lost.”

 Dawn  stood for non-violent, peaceful protest which had the power to change social norms.

She said South Africa continued to have the highest rate of rape in the world.

“We have the greatest constitution in the world but the rights on paper has not been realised in women’s lives.

“We need a president who cares about women’s rights and a government that will provide the necessary resources in rural areas to assist those who are suffering.”

Barker said  Dawn  was launching an initiative called “Women’s Wednesdays”, to aid vulnerable women and girls needing physical and moral support.

“We asked women to do something good for somebody else every Wednesday, to be a caring presence in a blue T-shirt.

“We can do simple things such as grocery shopping for someone, pray for a grieving family or anything else.

“Working people can even squeeze some time in during their lunch-hour or after hours.”

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