March 4, 2021

16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign

Don’t be silenced. It encourages the tormentor, not the tormented.

The impact of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in South Africa, has seen many women and children at even greater risk, with many trapped at home with their abusers. We are reminded that changing this reality for survivors of abuse requires more than talk – it demands that each one of us speaks out and is heard.

 During the 16 Days of Activism Campaign, LegalWise proudly partnered with the TEARS Foundation, working with them to provide various Family and Children Services units and Victim Empowerment Programmes with insight into the legislation aimed at protecting victims from abuse. The aim is to ensure their staff and volunteers have the necessary skills to assist victims and to limit secondary trauma suffered by victims of gender-based violence after reporting a crime against them.

The TEARS Foundation was founded by Mara Glennie who suffered years of abuse and when she finally found the courage to tell her story, was faced with disbelief and questioning. Having not received the support she needed when she was at her most vulnerable did not deter Mara from breaking the silence. Instead of allowing her experience to defeat her, she chose to be the voice for those whose stories are not heard. TEARS Foundation gives voice to survivors and provides them with help when they need it most through an SMS short code which connects victims to the nearest emergency centre immediately.

In the first of a planned series of training workshops hosted by the TEARS Foundation on 14 November 2020, LegalWise unpacked various pieces of legislation including the Domestic Violence Act, the Sexual Offences Act, the Children's Act as well as the Child Justice Act. Aside from improving the skills of community volunteers and SAPS staff in addressing, reporting and dealing with gender-based violence in a crisis setting, the training aims to enhance the quality of reporting by educating about the laws, ethical principles and protocols.

“Working with Legalwise allows TEARS to explore our excellent laws in a victim centred way,” states Mara Glennie, founder of TEARS.

By providing access to justice through education, LegalWise believes this training will give volunteers and survivors a clearer understanding of their rights which will provide survivors with the strength and courage to reauthor their story from one of abuse to one of courage and overcoming.

 Should you need assistance, simply dial *134*7355# to find the nearest support service provider. Alternatively, contact the TEARS Foundation on 010 590 5920 or