“We have a vision of a society where we no longer read or hear about the abuse that some women and children suffer,” President Jacob Zuma said at the official launch of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign.

Speaking at Reiger Park, Ekurhuleni on Tuesday, 25 November, President Zuma said: “We are building a society where the women and children are safe at home, at school or at work, a society where children play safely outside and where women walk freely in the streets, without fear of attacks.

“This is the society that the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children hopes to achieve.”

The theme for this year’s 16 Days campaign is “Count me in: together moving a non-violent South Africa forward”.

During the 16 days, the campaign seeks to make people countrywide aware of the negative impact of violence against women and children, while urging the public to act against abuse.

“This year, we are reaching out to men and boys,” President Zuma said, calling for greater participation in the campaign by men, while urging “young men and boys as well to commit themselves to become activists against gender-based violence”.

Each year the government, business and civil society organisations work together to broaden the impact of the campaign.

Citizens are encouraged to take action and support the campaign by wearing a white ribbon during the 16-day period, participating in the various 16 Days of Activism events and activities, volunteering in support of NGOs and community groups who support abused women and children, and making donations to organisations working to end violence against women and children.

By supporting this campaign over the years, thousands of South Africans have helped to increase awareness of abuse and build support for victims and survivors of abuse.

“While the international campaign is marked for 16 days, we urge all South Africans to ensure that this becomes a campaign for all 365 days of the year,” President Zuma said.

The 16 Days campaign is an international one which runs every year from 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, through to 10 December, International Human Rights Day. The 16-day period also covers Universal Children’s Day and World Aids Day.

This year, the campaign takes place against the backdrop of South Africa’s 20th year of democracy – as well as the 60th anniversary of the Women’s Charter.