16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children

#16Days: How do we implement effective anti-abuse activities into schools?

An estimated one in five cases (21%) of sexual assault in the country occurs in the school setting.

While we commonly hear about sexual assault against learners by teachers, the perpetrators – especially among older children – are often their peers. There is a tremendous need and opportunity for us to be more thoughtful about how to implement activities for 16 Days of Activism of No Violence against Women and Children into schools. These activities need to be peer-driven, yearlong, and connected to school-specific goals and values. If you are aware of any school that has such a peer-driven, yearlong programme I'd like for you to please let me know.

According to the World Health Organisation, emotional abuse is… “patterns of belittling, denigrating, scapegoating, threatening, scaring, discriminating, ridiculing or other non-physical forms of hostile or rejecting treatment”.

A commonly overlooked aspect of emotional abuse is that it generally takes the form of a relationship rather than an event. In my conversations with children in schools (both government and independent) I have heard many stories of parents who regularly belittle, denigrate, threaten, scare, and ridicule them. When you were a child, was such language ever used towards you? If you are a parent, have you ever used such language towards your child/ren? If so, what triggers you and how often does it happen? I believe that stopping abuse and violence against women and children starts with the values we teach in our homes and families.

Professor Khalil Osiris is an internationally recognised expert on restorative justice practices and cognitive behavioural personal change. An author and educator from America, he spent 20 years of his life in prison. While there, Professor Osiris earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Boston University. He transformed his life and emerged from prison with a deep understanding of how to use personal crisis and challenges as opportunities for self-improvement.


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