“Give teeth” to campaign to protect women, children, urges AFM

Dr Izak Burger, president of the AFM

[notice]On the eve of the launch by the South African of Government the “16 Days of Activism For No Violence Against Women and Children” from November 25 to December 10, the Apostolic Faith Mission has released a media statement calling on the Government to give teeth to the campaign by taking firm action against offenders.[/notice]

The Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) of South Africa calls on government, civil society and churches to join forces to prevent the ’16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women and Children’ Campaign from becoming another meaningless annual event on the nation’s calendar.

In a media statement released today the AFM says South Africa is regarded as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women and children to live. The latest crime statistics reveal almost 55 000 women are raped annually in South Africa and that thousands more suffer various forms of sexual exploitation and abuse.

Children do not fare any better. More than 25 000 children are raped or sexually abused in South Africa every year. While these stats may only be the the tip of the iceberg,the persistently high figures prove that government has not done enough to combat the exploitation and abuse of vulnerable women and children in South Africa.

Every year the ’16 Days of Activism Campaign’ is launched with much fanfare by various government departments but with very little results. Media statements and rousing speeches themselves will do nothing to reverse the current trend of rape, sexual exploitation and abuse of women and children.

The media reports that Mavericks strip club in Cape Town is importing Eastern European women into South Africa under questionable circumstances. Many do not possess the legal documentation to work in this country.

The AFM is shocked and appalled that a strip club is using permits intended for Christian missionary work to traffick women into South Africa as “exotic dancers” and eventual sexual enslavement.

Just two weeks prior to the launch of the ’16 Days of Activism Campaign’ Mavericks strip club has reportedly illegally erected giant billboards in Cape Town that sexually degrade women and promote adultery. Thousands of children are exposed to these sexually explicit images every day.

Despite the harm these billboards cause women and children and its illegal status, the city authorities have refused to immediately remove them making a mockery of the stated objectives of the ’16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women and Children’ Campaign.

The AFM calls on government to revoke the licenses of Mavericks and other strip clubs found guilty of illegally importing women into the country and under false claims of employment.

The AFM also urges the national, provincial and municipal authorities to urgently implement regulations that prohibit the public display of advertising images that portray women in a lewd and obscene manner or that sexually demean and objectify women for commercial purposes.

 The Film and Publications Act make it a criminal offense to expose children to pornographic images. The AFM calls on the authorities to urgently act against offenders without compromise.

Government must give teeth to the ’16 Days of Activism Campaign’ or risk relegating the initiative to a platform for political opportunism, empty promises and pious platitudes – while women and children are violated and abused daily in South Africa.

While the AFM does not expect government to do the Church’s work, it has the divine responsibility to create a social environment where everyone – especially the weak and the vulnerable – will be safe.

The AFM therefore calls on government to launch the 2011 ’16 Days of Activism Campaign’ with credibility by implementing initiatives that will effectively promote the safety and dignity of women and children in society.

  • Meanwhile, Family Policy Institute (FPI) is mobilising a protest outside Mavericks (on the corner of Buitenkant and Barrack Streets, Cape Town central) on Thursday December 1, from 11am to 2pm. FPI says: “We need mostly young women to come dressed in tattered and torn clothing and to stand with their arms chained to dramatically expose the involvement of Mavericks in trafficking. Young men can hold placards stating ‘Trafficking – The New Slave Trade’, ‘This Could Be Your Daughter’ and ‘Stop Mavericks Abuse of Women’. Placards will be provided but more are needed. Contact us if you are willing to sponsor printing of more placards. It is important to have young men and women participate as the media often stereotype Christian protestors against p*rn and prostitution as old and irrelevant to the issue.

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