“Child abuse is on the increase,” Director of the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children, Shaheema McLeod said at the launch of the Centre’s annual anti violence campaign – Air Your Dirty Laundry. “Child abuse is driven by poverty, lack of adequate childcare facilities, substance abuse and a scourge of gang violence, specifically on the Cape Flats. Children are the most vulnerable and intervention from the primary caregiver is imperative.”
“One out of four children are abused in South Africa, with only 3% of offenders actually facing conviction. The statistics are horrifying. Perpetrators are roaming the street with very little consequence for their actions. Air Your Dirty Laundry sends out a strong message – violence, no matter what day of the year it is, will not be tolerated. The campaign gives children a voice to speak out against what’s happening to them,” McLeod says.
The anti violence campaign, which culminates in hundreds of t-shirts with powerful messages speaking out against violence being hung-up on makeshift washing lines, was attended by around 200 children from the Manenberg area.
Since the launch of their Children’s Programme in 2013 the Centre has been inundated with requests for assistance from the community; “We are able to assess and provide counselling to children staying at the shelter as well as those living in the area. Lack of resources, high levels of violence in schools, families and the broader community and a dysfunctional justice system are fuelling an already volatile situation,” McLeod says.
The event was supported by Good Hope FM, Golden Arrow Buses and Adventure Boot Camp, who will hand-over a cheque to the value of just under R80 000 as a result of money raised for the 16 Days of Activism campaign.
Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications:
021 447 1082 / 084 639 4304
On behalf of the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children:
Director: Shaheema McLeod