The national lockdown has left many young women afraid to speak out about abuse or violent situations they may face , in response, The Body Shop is calling on South Africans to show their solidarity to those isolated with an abuser by sharing the hashtag #IsolatedNotAlone.
“There are many signs of an abusive relationship, and fear of your partner is the most telling. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around them – constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up – chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs include a man who belittles you or tries to control you, feelings of self-loathing, helplessness and desperation,” Carlos Jardim, GM of the Body Shop South Africa.
The campaign aims to combat the increase in domestic violence due to Covid-19, and wishes to spread awareness and offer counselling to victims. According Jardim, GM of the Body Shop South Africa: “The Body Shop has previously campaigned on violence against young women and girls and with everyone self-isolating at home right now to stop the spread of Covid-19, the need has never been more acute. The more gender-based violence (GBV) is spoken about in society, the less this hidden abuse will live in the shadows”.
Furthermore for every hand care product sold, R10 will be donated to local women-led NGO 18twenty8, which educates boys and men to champion girls’ and women’s safety, and provides specialised training for young women at risk and offers support for victims of GBV.
Gugu Gumede , South African actress, says this cause is very close to her heart. “I was raised by an amazing, powerful and strong woman who taught me that I am unbreakable and gave me the confidence to believe in myself. I want all the young girls and women who live in fear to know that we see you and hear you. The time has come to find your inner power and break free. You are not alone,” she said.
“According to UN Women, men who witnessed or experienced violence against women as
children are more likely to perpetrate intimate partner violence in their adult relationships. Ending violence is our collective responsibility; we all have a role to play to change the status quo and fight this scourge,” concluded Jardim.
Additionally, The Body Shop offers the following advice for women and girls affected by GBV:
• Know that this isn’t your fault
• You’re not alone. Keep in contact with your friends and family regularly
• Create code words or signs to let family or friends know if you’re in danger
• While at home, try to stay safe. Write down an emergency number and have essentials ready if you need to leave
• Your mobile phone can be your lifeline. Keep it charged and on hand at all times. Know who to call in case of an emergency
• Contact the Stop Gender Violence Helpline at 0800 150 150 or *120*7867#