South African women (and children) live in “one of the most unsafe places in the world to be a woman”, in the words of President Cyril Ramaphosa. A country where a woman is murdered every three hours and where 52 420 sexual offences were reported in just 365 days.
“While women abuse has been declared a national crisis, there’s a lot that still needs to be done to bring this dark subject into the light,” says Casey Rousseau from 1st for Women Insurance.
During the national 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign, 1st for Women shone a light on women abuse by projecting 15 haunting tributes to victims of brutal murders, rapes and femicides on to very dark places – the actual locations of the crimes.
The first projection was filmed in Faerie Glen, Pretoria. It pays tribute to Chanelle Henning, a young mother who was murdered in November 2011. Future projections will pay tribute to victims including Hannah Cornelius who was raped and murdered near Stellenbosch, Clarissa Lindoor who was murdered in Stellenbosch, Courtney Pieters who was raped and murdered – her body was found in Epping Industria, Cape Town and Janika Mello who was raped and murdered in Heinz Park, Cape Town.
The light projections were conceptualised by 1st for Women’s creative agency, FoxP2, and were released every day for the first 15 days of the 16 Days of Activism campaign.
Lisa Bayliss from FoxP2 explains the idea behind the light projections.“We wanted to convey two things – firstly, that women abuse can happen anywhere and to anyone. All too often we think ‘it won’t happen here’ or ‘it won’t happen to me’. We wanted to prove otherwise by highlighting the actual locations of attacks – urban, rural – it happens everywhere. The second point we wanted to make is that when a woman is murdered, there is brief outrage, but then we quickly move onto the next news story, and the epidemic of women abuse and femicide fades back into the darkness. We want to keep women abuse in the spotlight – by literally shining a light on it,” says Bayliss.
On the 16th Day (10 December 2019), the full length video was projected onto the side of the well-known landmark in Johannesburg. The tribute was broadcast live on social media.
Since 2005, the 1st for Women Foundation has contributed over R70 million to various organisations that focus on fighting woman abuse. Over this period, 90 000 victims and survivors of abuse have been assisted by the Foundation. In 2017, 1st for Women launched For-Women, a platform that consolidates all women abuse fighting efforts in one place. This site features the public, private and non-profit organisations who have vowed to fight women abuse, so that survivors of abuse can find the right help, quickly. For-Women also enables South Africans and corporate South Africa who want to take a stand against women abuse to easily connect with organisations who need their help.
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