The public silence on violence against women in South Africa has been shattered in the past week. It has been the dominant topic of conversation in media, on the streets in mass protests, and on all forms of social media. While this intense focus on the issue is long overdue and welcome, real progress on the widespread issue of violence against women by their partners can only be achieved when the domestic silence also ends, according to activist and survivor of GBV, Rosie Motene.
Motene, who is on the board of the People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA), says “the essential first step out of an abusive relationship is an honest conversation in a secure space but very few women feel they can talk about their experiences of violence - largely out of shame or fear, they remain silent.”
In an important attempt to generate more of these vital conversations, and to create safe spaces for women to speak up, Joko has launched the #EndDomesticSilence initiative in partnership with POWA.
#EndDomesticSilence provides essential information and tools for anyone both to have, and to listen to, those first conversations. Joko tea packs will carry the #EndDomesticSilence message into millions of homes and the company is also providing funds for the expansion of the number of safe spaces for women and building online resources for anyone to access.
Motene believes #EndDomesticSilence applies to everyone: “women and men all need to address this issue openly and to be prepared to listen in ways that can make a positive difference”.
This initiative has been planned for over a year but Motene says the current wave of anger and awareness on the issue makes #EndDomesticSilence all the more important: “if we can use this climate to really get through the message that silence is an enemy, and provide the means for women to safely speak, we should be able to make some long overdue real progress.”