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Children speak out against violence

The Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children hosted their annual Air Your Dirty Laundry event, which culminated in hundreds of t-shirts with powerful messages speaking out against violence being hung-up on makeshift washing lines. The event, which took place at the Centre in Manenberg on 3 December, forms part of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children national campaign.

More than 400 children from Manenberg and the surrounding areas, together with representatives from the South African Police force, the Ottery Fire Department and Melomed Ambulance Services, painted t-shirts with powerful anti-violence messages.

The event began with an anti-violence pledge:

Peace  begins  with  me.

I  will do  my  part  to  keep  my  community  and  schools  safe.

I  will  not  be  violent  or  disrespectful  to  others.

I  understand  that  violence  is never acceptable.

I  will  pledge  to  keep  the  peace  and  STOP  the  silence.

It starts with me.

Established 16-years ago, the Centre has assisted more than 179 000 victims of crime and violence. Over the past few years, they have seen a 65% increase in the number of women and children seeking assistance at their emergency shelter.

“Air Your Dirty Laundry is an artistic platform that gives victims of abuse a voice to speak out against violence. Children are silenced far too often from speaking out,” Director of the Centre, Shaheema McLeod said. “The campaign aims to raise further awareness around violence and its pervasiveness in homes and communities.”

Since the launch of their children’s programme in 2013 the Centre has been inundated with requests for assistance from our community. “Lack of resources, high levels of violence in schools, families and the broader community, a dysfunctional justice system and the increased abuse of drugs and alcohol are fuelling an already volatile situation,” says McLeod.

“Regardless of what day of the year it is, violence is not acceptable. Air Your Dirty Laundry, besides giving children a voice through the creative process, is sending out a strong message against violence,” McLeod concluded.

ENDS

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 Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications:

Beverley Houston

Beverley@be-cause.co.za

082 824 8617 / 021 447 1082

On behalf of the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children:

Director: Shaheema McLeod

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