According to the South African Police Services Annual Crime Statistics Presentation, April 2019 – March 2020, approximately 2,695 women are murdered in a year, and every three hours a woman is killed. These are not titles for a blockbuster horror movie – they are gender-based violence (GBV) statistics in South Africa.
This is the real horror story and nightmare for South African women, in a country where femicide is five times higher than the global average, according to the World Health Organisation (2016). These deplorable statistics are highlighted in DStv BoxOffice’s GBV-focused campaign titled Every Day Is Halloween For Women.
The campaign uses the horror of Halloween as real-life reference and kicks off with the audience being invited to watch a locally-produced horror movie – Every Day Is Halloween – on BoxOffice, a rent-to-view service offering the latest blockbuster movies. However, instead of finding a horror film, the audience is confronted with the harrowing statistics that tally the brutal killings of South African women, concluding with the campaign messaging that every day is Halloween for women.
“Although Halloween movies are based on fictional violence, in South Africa the violence perpetrated against women is sadly not fictional. This campaign relays that the danger, fear, and violence that is synonymous with the horror movie genre, is experienced every day by women in our country,” says Thabisa Mkhwanazi, executive head: marketing at MultiChoice South Africa.
Starring actress, author, and women’s right activist Ayanda Borotho as the lead in the horror “movie” and the face of the campaign, the trailer was directed by AK from production company Spitfire.TV.
“Our country is filled with horror stories of women being killed every day. This violence is experienced both in public and private spaces. The character I portray is barricaded in her home, looking out of a window with a sense of danger lurking just outside her door,” says Borotho.
The sense of danger becomes real when the woman and her young daughter are attacked in their lounge. Later, lead character Borotho and her daughter are seen being pursued by a perpetrator as she drives away swerving uncontrollably, while looking over her shoulder in the hopes of getting away. With no help or refuge, in the final scene, the child (left alone at the side of the road) calls out to her mother with no response – all that is left is the deafening life-ending silence that is a reality for so many women in South Africa.
“Women can’t escape the violence they face in this country daily, no matter how hard they try. We are trapped in our homes with abusers and killers known to us and the community. Outside the home, we are harassed and hunted. We are separated from our children and families because we are running from physical and emotional danger,” says Borotho.
The campaign not only highlights the shocking GBV stats, but also asks the public to participate in the fight against GBV by donating on the DStv BoxOffice platform. All proceeds go to the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation (UMF) launched in honour of 19-year-old university student Uyinene Mrwetyana who was brutally raped and murdered in 2019 at the Clareinch post office where she had gone to collect a parcel.
“Uyinene’s murder is one of many incomprehensible killings of women in our country, where something as simple as going to the post office results in your demise. The UMF is alive today because tragically Uyinene is not,” says UMF’s managing director Masimbulele Buso.
“The Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation hopes this campaign will continue to raise awareness of gender-based violence against women while raising critical funds to help the foundation continue its work around youth empowerment, and violence prevention,” concludes Buso.
About Every Day is Halloween For Women Campaign
The DStv BoxOffice campaign raises awareness about the shockingly high levels of violence perpetrated against women in South Africa. It brings to the fore that every day women live in fear and are targets of extreme abuse, violence and are murdered in a country where femicide is five times higher than the global average, with South Africa having the fourth-highest female interpersonal violence death rate out of the 183 countries listed by the WHO in 2016.
The campaign begins by inviting the audience to watch a horror film Every Day is Halloween, only to be confronted by the real horror of gender-based violence against women, highlighting the daily fear and violence women endure in South Africa. The campaign titled Every Day is Halloween For Women encourages the public to donate to the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation by ‘renting’ the feature through DStv BoxOffice.
The Every Day is Halloween For Women trailer is available on BoxOffice from 31 October 2021. Donations can be made on BoxOffice when a customer selects Every Day is Halloween For Women content, and clicks on the Rent Now button and follows the steps to make payment. All proceeds go to the UMF with DStv BoxOffice matching donation from the public.