Discussions about femicide and gender-based violence are often framed in cold statistics that are bereft of any human element, yet the survivors of this scourge are real people from all walks of life.
In response to the unintended dehumanisation of gender-based violence, Avon Justine has sought to put a human face to the narrative of gender-based violence by hosting a Women’s Month high tea at the Palazzo Hotel in Johannesburg, where Josina Machel, one of the millions of survivors of this savagery, will gave a keynote address and shared her story of being brutalised by her former partner.
Machel lost her right eye in an assault at the hands of her then-partner and her eye was replaced by a prosthetic since the attack.
Attendees at the high tea includes Avon’s long-standing partners in its campaign against gender-based violence, namely women’s rights and advocacy group People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA), Lawyers against Abuse (LvA), a non-profit organisation that provides critical legal and psychosocial support for victims of gender-based violence in Diepsloot in the north of Johannesburg and TEARS Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides access to crisis intervention, advocacy, counselling, and prevention education services for those impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault and child sexual abuse.
Lerato Ndoro, Executive Director People Culture & Organisation at Avon Justine, said the high tea represents Avon’s quest to support women by providing them with a safe platform to have conversations that break down the walls of silence.
“This event is inspired by a common narrative that is often laced with deep judgment when a woman starts manifesting their inner emotional challenges, physically. A return to love seeks to revive this sense of self-care, self-love and self-acceptance, off the back of many social and personal challenges women have been confronted with. This event is a contribution of Avon Justine continual efforts to connect women with other like-minded women, enabling meaningful and compelling conversations and creating safe spaces of expression,” says Hukamdad.
Violence against women and girls is the most widespread human rights violation in the world and its prevalence is more horrifying in South Africa. According to the latest crime statistics released by the South African Police Services (SAPS), from April to June 2022, 855 women and 243 children were killed in South Africa. Over 11 000 assault with grievous bodily harm cases were opened with the police, while 1 670 such cases involved children.
Working with its NGO partners, Avon has been championing the fight against domestic abuse and gender-based violence. Since 2004, with the Avon Foundation for Women, the company has contributed more than US$80 million globally to support awareness, education and the development and implementation of prevention and direct service programmes.