CAPE TOWN, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- South Africa on Saturday launched the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, amid rising incidents of violence against women and children.
Susan Shabangu, Minister in the Presidency Responsible for Women, represented President Jacob Zuma at the launch ceremony in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape Province.
Violence against women and children continues every day in South Africa, Shabangu said, adding, "We cannot allow ourselves to be defeated by this scourge."
She pointed to "the worst and most shocking incidents of violence against women and children" this year, particularly at schools, which are meant to be safe havens for children.
South Africa is among the countries that have the highest rate of violence against women and children. According to the South African Medical Research Council, a woman is killed by an intimate partner every eight hours in South Africa.
The South African government has declared violence against women and children a strategic crime-prevention and policing priority.
To curb rising violence against women and children, South Africa has reinstated specialized Sexual Offences Courts to speedily handle cases of this kind, Shabangu said.
The government has also put in place several progressive and comprehensive laws, policies, support systems and institutional arrangements to respond to violence against women and children.
Shabangu said the success of the 16 Days of Activism campaign rests on every South African citizen and collective actions to safeguard their society against this cycle of abuse.
As a worldwide campaign initiated in 1991, the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is held from November 25 to December 10 every year, with the participation of more than 3,700 organizations from about 164 countries.