Image by Liam Edwards
Merriam Webster defines activism as, “A doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue.” As we begin the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, you may be asking yourself how best to make your voice heard.
A lot has been said about online activism. Terms like “keyboard activism” and “slacktivism” feel like calling cards of yesteryear, specifically the year that shall not be named (2016, I am talking about 2016). Nothing good happened in 2016, a lot of our therapists are still helping us move beyond it, but it was also the year that people manufactured reasons to criticise how people were beginning to advocate for the issues that they cared about. Look, read your thinkpieces of choice and come to your own conclusions, but people of a certain age were throwing their toys that a new way of fighting for social change was becoming widespread.
Cut to 2020, and any well-adjusted person knows better. We understand the power of the internet and social media as verified tools of social change. For the first time in history, people have the power to decide HOW they advocate for the issues that are important to them. So, how are you advocating this 16 Days of Activism?
We have a number of choices at our fingertips. We can use social media to meaningfully get behind causes that are close to our hearts. What are the internets good for?
- Creating social awareness
- Amplifying a message
- Signing petitions
- Mobilising for actions
- Remote presence
Why is donating important?
This is not to be misconstrued, but, we are not all doing the work – that is a fact. Speaking specifically about GBV, we do not all do the work in this space. This means that as much as we may want to feel like we are making tangible change, that may be a bit tricky. There is nothing stopping us from contributing to tangible change, and that is the value (and power) in donating. Donating to women-run organisations that provide direct services to and actively advocate for survivors of gender-based violence can go a long way.
(We do also need to read the room. In a country with vast socio-economic disparities, putting money at the center of personal activism would be ill-advised. That said, it also cannot be ignored as effective political action.)
Where your donations go
If you did not know, our work consists of a range of projects that include direct services to survivors of rape and sexual violence, popular education, and advocacy as essential components of our theory of change. There are three (3) ways to get involved and lend a hand to the survivors Rape Crisis supports:
If we focus on our core service – which is free counselling for rape survivors – we can quantify very clearly what the need is. Our counselling service is FREE. One (1) session is valued at R300, and a survivor typically experiences a 12-session cycle. For 12 sessions, that means that each survivor that comes through our doors or receives remote 24-hour counselling receives R3,600 “worth” of free counselling sessions.
Why you should put your money where your activism
This is not a message crafted solely for the benefit of Rape Crisis. This 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, if you are looking for meaningful ways to make a marked difference to GBV in South Africa, consider making a donation within your means to an organisation that does work in the sector. There are experienced, powerful, women-led organisations that have been making strides in abuse victim and survivor support services.
More specifically, put your money where your activism is for organisations that provide DIRECT services to survivors. That is how you can ensure that your hard-earned rands end up positively impacting the lives of people directly affected by the issues plaguing our country. These organisations work 365 days, not just 16 days a year. Show their incredible work your support with a donation today. If you’re wondering which organisations could use your support? Look no further.
Organisations doing the work that could use your support:
- Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS)
- Centre for Law and Society (UCT)
- Child Witness Institute
- Dullah Omar Institute (UWC)
- Gender Health and Justice Research Unit (GHJRU) UCT
- Greater Nelspruit Rape Intervention Project (GRIP)
- Lawyers for Human Rights
- LifeLine and ChildLine South Africa
- Mosaic Women’s Healing and Support Centre
- People Opposed to Women Abuse (POWA)
- Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children
- Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT)
- Shukumisa Coalition
- Sonke Gender Justice
- Triangle Project
- Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre (TLAC)
- Women’s Legal Centre