Editorial: Women are standing up and getting help.

In all the Women’s Months that South Africa has celebrated over the years, I personally think that this has been the most effective one yet. It could be that Gender Based Violence has had a lot of exposure in the last year, but everyone seems to be waking up and smelling the coffee when it comes to Gender-Based Violence. There have been some great strides made for women. Initiatives like the #MeToo movement, which is a movement against sexual harassment and assault and more recently and locally the #TotalShutdown March are giving women a voice. We too are going pink in our support for the fight against Gender-Based Violence. What is very clear to see, especially this last month, is that woman are raising their voices and taking a stand against Gender-Based Violence.

As you will watch in this month’s success video, speaking up and telling your story is not something that you should be ashamed of. You are a survivor and it’s important to know that your strength could inspire another person to seek help.

Daily on social media, abused women, ask for help. Recently a tweet for help came from a lady, whose name was Yola. Her tweet read, “It’s not easy asking for help. But I have no choice. Please provide me with any advice on how to get the father of my child behind bars #justice. I am afraid that the police are not taking this matter seriously.”

 

Within a couple of hours, her tweet had gone viral. Over 1000 people commented, offering help, or telling her where she could get help. Her tweet was retweeted 17,000 times. Her response was emotional, to say the least. “Thank you so much to everyone that called, gave advice and commented positively. Now I know that I am not alone and already this matter is being handled. I don’t feel so weak anymore. There’s hope!” A very powerful message indeed, giving other victims of abuse courage to get help.

Here at Namola we’ve also seen the powerful impact that #TheTotalShutDown marches have had on abused women seeking help. Historically, slightly more men have signed up to Namola than women. However, after the various #TheTotalShutdown marches took place at the beginning of this month, nearly two-thirds (65.5%) of our sign-ups have come from women. We believe that #TheTotalShutdown especially has encouraged more women to empower themselves, which we are thrilled about.

With more women using Namola, we are actively expanding our database of partners to include shelters and counselling lines. To date, we’ve had [255] requests for assistance for Domestic Violence and [38] cases of rape. We know that the statistics for both of these incidents are alarming in South Africa, but knowing that women are becoming aware of Namola and what we do, they now have a place to report and get help.

Support around GBV has been extraordinary this month, with a huge focus on getting women help.  We need to remember, however, that GBV does not just affect women. It can affect men, children, the LBGT community as well as the elderly.

We still have a lot of work to do, to reach those who do not have access to any help or support and we need South Africa to help. South Africans no longer have to be silent bystanders; with Namola, we can get help, fast, on behalf of others. Be active in your community. Report abuse of any kind. We need to speak up for others who cannot help themselves. If you see it or hear it,  you can Namola it.

An emergency can be an incredibly harrowing and emotional experience. Having a real-life human being — not an automated service or someone putting you on hold — who is able to remove the emotion and the panic of the situation is exactly what you will need. Knowing that someone will take control and coordinate help, with a clear mind, is something you can count on in an emergency —- leaving you one less thing to worry about. Namola Agents will hold your hand through the emergency and will only close an incident once you and they are satisfied that you have the help that you need

Be prepared and proactive with your safety and read 5 safety tips to keep you safe. Tell your friends, tell your family to download Namola from your iPhone App Store or Android Play Store to get help fast in an emergency.

Yours in safety,

Claire

(Namola Superhero Supervisor)

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