Can’t you hear them? The unmistakable voices shouting: “Hands off our children, there is no excuse for sexual abuse”!
Mothers Unite took part in a march co-ordinated by the forum ‘Hands off our children’ (HOOC) in the Lavender Hill area on Youth Day this year. Striking T-shirts with the slogan and banners which clarified the cause. We marched for the childrens’ rights, and their protection against sexual, emotional and physical abuse. Our friend organization Philisa Abafazi Bethu, that offers shelter for abused kids as well as abused women, led us through the streets. A couple of other social service organizations joined the manifestation; obviously we made a strong front. Each and every community leader worked together that day, marching, appealing to the people and the government. Unfortunately the winter is breaking into Cape Town – the streets were flooded and the sharp wind seemed devastating at times – but with God’s will we caught a moment of sunshine while we marched.
Afterwards we gathered in a small church to talk about the high prevalence and frightening silence that surrounds child abuse every day. All agreed that “It’s time to break the silence” as we approached one another. A sketch performed by two policemen opened up the gathering and then a striking speech by Sheila from Sharing and Caring followed.
People became thoughtful as they listened to deeply touching poems about the abused child’s pain and its loneliness and another one about the inalienable freedom. The organizations (NGO’s) introduced themselves and welcomed every soul feeling the need to speak out. Sexual abuse causes a devastating long-term sociological and physical harm to the survivor. The speech givers were willing to wake up the audience sharing shocking facts but also showing how we can become part of the solution.
One could feel the convincing and vibrant message. Everybody became one during that morning of the 16th June. The Youth are our only future, it is in our hands to give them love and peace along their way.