It is up to each and every one of us to find ways to empower our country’s women and keep them safe. This is an important consideration for Women’s Month.
August sees South Africa commemorate the Women's march, which took place on the 9th of August 1956 in Pretoria. The marchers' aims were to protest the introduction of the pass laws for black women in and the presentation of a petition to the government of the day.
We will be commemorating Women’s Month under abnormal circumstances, with much of the country still under lockdown. It is however still very important for all of us to look at the safety and security of our women and to ensure that they are safe from crime and violence.
We can do this by following basic safety tips and making sure we share these tips with our loved ones. Many opportunistic criminals will be on the look-out for what they perceive to be ‘soft targets’, especially now during the pandemic. This means that being aware of your surroundings and potential threats is perhaps one of the most valuable lines of defence.
The following tips can make a positive difference to keeping safe:
- Of utmost importance is to trust your instincts. Women have great intuition and should listen to their instincts. If someone or something makes you feel uneasy, avoid the individual and leave the area
- Make contact with your private security service provider and ask them if they offer a mobile panic alarm service, which could be downloaded to your mobile phone
- Tell someone where you are going and the time you expect to return. Save the details of the person to be contacted in the event of an emergency to your mobile phone or memorise it
- Be aware of people around you when heading to your vehicle, especially at places such as shopping centres and petrol stations. Ensure that you take a moment to check the street before pulling into a driveway, be it your own or a friend’s
- If you are driving, the first thing to do once you are inside your vehicle is to ensure that all the doors are locked. Never drive with a handbag or any other valuable items on a seat or in the view of anyone looking into your vehicle from the outside.
Talk to your loved ones about these tips. By sharing it and by working with the brave men and women of our law enforcement and security partners, we can make a difference and make the world safer for our women.
The Department of Social Development has set up a helpline service for victims of gender-based violence. Contact them on 0800 428 428 or visit their website for other contact options http://gbv.org.za/contact-us/