Every year we write about the holiday season as a time of sharing, love and connection. It is the same this year, we want you to have a grand time, have all the fun and joy you can imagine AND how about this year taking the love up a notch? Seek out the suffering that may be hiding in the women right in front of you. The fear and pain are carried within, so it is likely to be all around you, sitting in meetings, in the canteen, rubbing shoulders in the taxi. And these women are silent about their shame, pain and fear.
These vulnerable people are everywhere, they are rich, poor, educated, uneducated, single, married, in urban and suburban areas in every province – so, sadly this is an epidemic in our precious country. And while the abuse is aimed mainly at woman and children who can’t defend themselves, there are men in our society who suffer silently as well.
So, this holiday season #Makeyourmove, your kindness and love may save a life, prevent a trauma, give back hope and a belief in the beauty of life.
For many women and children there is a shadowy side to the holiday season; it is a time of fear and dread…
|… by men being around the house more there is greater opportunity for abuse.||… boredom can lead to getting a ‘kick’ out of taunting and hurting the spouse.||… over the holiday season the increase in alcohol and drug consumption can unleash the violence.||…men ‘hanging-out’ may try to gain power and status by victimising women and children.|
THIS HOLIDAY SEASON BE AWARE AND
How to #Makeyourmove?
Celebrate safely – make use of these great prevention tips …
- Ensure everyone has a safe ride home from a party. Leave no one behind.
- Take no risks – make a pact before the party of what you and your girlfriends will and will not do, and hold each other too this. Do not let the alcohol and fun inhibit your judgement. Guy friends can be included – care for each other.
- Be brave – withstand the pressure of being called a killjoy, party pooper, buzz kill or downer. Step up to support someone who is trying to be brave.
- Say no to seemingly innocent games that you know are not so innocent.
- When your gut says ‘this is not ok’ believe it and get out. Call for help for the others.
Help to shift the guys-with-guys attitude
Over time the violence against women and children has become so legitimised that we do not notice how prevalent it is in everyday behaviour. Women have become things, rather than living, warm human beings. The time is now to start taking notice of where you too, unconsciously, may be supporting the denigration of women. Think about the words you use when you swear, think about the jokes you tell and laugh at, the way it is normal for men to look at and comment on women. Everyone does it, it is the norm. Now we know with absolute certainty that this norm is simply wrong. It must change.
If you want to be part of the change, a way to start is to become aware of your unconscious ‘boy’ habits. Think of any young women you love dearly – a daughter, sister, niece. Think of any mature women you hold with love and respect – mother, aunt, cousin, manager, colleague, public figure. Now, every time you swear, laugh at a joke, participate in the lewd comments about a women, image that the target is one of the women you love. Not so easy to laugh now.
#Makeyourmove, stop your men friends doing this, show them a new way.
Safety tips to help you and your children
Maybe you are not able to completely change your situation right now, but fortunately there are a number of ways to try and shield yourself from the violence. Every step you take can help you reduce the devastating impact and build your strength. Read this outstanding blog that is full of safety ideas that can help you and your children right now; and ways to tell your story and help others.
Building your strength with self-care
Sometimes when you are feeling low, the thought of self-care just seems like another burden to carry. So, without expectations on yourself, quietly follow this link and see if anything here ‘talks to you’, if so, follow your response. Or if you are feeling stronger and are ready to take some steps to care for yourself, try this link.