“Existing gaps in data on girls and young women, lack of systematic analysis, and limited use of existing data significantly constrain our ability to monitor and communicate the wellbeing and progress of nearly half of humanity.”
11 October is the International Day of the Girl Child. Today, we’d like to raise awareness about the discrimination, abuse and staggering odds faced by girls. We encourage you to have constructive conversations about girls’ rights, education, and opportunities, and how girls’ rights are infringed upon by the patriarchy. We further encourage you to show your support and engage with your community on these issues.
Bringing it home
We need to start healing our society, and the way to do this is to start at home. The International Day of the Girl Child is not about a day, but rather about a change in our thinking and living. Given the pervasive rape culture in South Africa, conversation, awareness and change are particularly important. South Africans need to educate themselves and each other in order to address what’s become a national crisis for girls and women in our society. As such, we need to educate our men as well:
- Women who wear revealing clothing are not inviting rape
- Women who drink or take drugs are not inviting rape
- Women who are out late at night are not inviting rape
- A woman can be raped by her husband
- Statutory rape is when someone over 18 years old has sex with someone under the age of 16 years old, whether or not she gave consent
This year’s theme
The theme this year is Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: A Global Girl Data Movement. The idea behind this theme is to increase awareness by improving the accuracy, quality and quantity of available data on gender rights violations. According to UNICEF, these are a few of the goals of the Global Girl Data Movement:
- Collect and analyse gender data across ages around gender-based violence, reproductive health and related issues.
- Gather better quality data on children who are the most disadvantaged.
- Improve data collection on such things as sexual violence against younger girls.
- Use new technology and big data to help close the data gaps where progress is difficult to measure.
- Address issues of gender bias, underreported instances of violence and the undercounting of births and deaths.
Facts and statistics in South Africa:
- “27 people will be sexually assaulted in the Western Cape today – and every other day of the year.” [Source]
- “South Africa has one of the highest incidences of rape in the world.” [Source]
- The estimated number of sexual offences that occurred in South Africa in 2014 is 563 841, while the cases that resulted in conviction total 5484. [Source]
- “Nearly 1 in 5 women reported ever having experienced sexual intimate partner violence.” [UNFPA]
- “An estimated 16% of HIV in women could be preventable if there was no intimate partner violence.” [UNFPA]
For immediate support if you’ve experienced abuse, you can speak to a counsellor in English, Afrikaans or Xhosa on this 24-hour crisis line:
24-hour Rape Crisis Line: 021 447 9762
Let’s protect and celebrate our women. Want to read more: