Yesterday marked the start of 16 Days of Activism Against Violence 2018.
16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls. The campaign runs every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day. During these 16 days the entire world will be forced to recognize the prevalence of violence against women, children and animals – all vulnerable to those with cruel intentions.
Individuals who commit violent acts against a vulnerable entity such as animals are up to 9 times more likely to commit violent acts against vulnerable people such as women and children.
Animal abuse and cruelty is a strong indicator of domestic violence within the home. Animal abuse is often used as a threat, to compel compliance or to silence a victim.
An average of 70% of pet-owning women who were victims of abuse reported that a pet has been threatened, hurt or killed by their abusers.
Read more about the correlation of human abuse and animal abuse here
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE:
We believe that if we can stop cruelty to animals, we can have a positive impact on the escalation of violent crimes against women and children. ACT NOW!
PLANNING AN ESCAPE ROUTE FOR YOU AND YOUR PET:
When escaping domestic violence, survivors are often worried about pets’ safety if left with the abuser, and whether a domestic violence shelter can accommodate pets. Abusers will take their aggression or threats out on the animals, as a way to keep survivors in line and to warn survivors and their families that harm will befall them and the animals unless they comply with the abuser’s demands.
First, establish ownership of the pet. Get your veterinary records, training records, adoption forms, pet food bills etc. together, proving that you are the legal owner of your pet, so that your abuser cannot claim custody.
Secondly, find your pet a safe shelter to go to (if you are not allowed to take him/her to the shelter you will stay in yourself). You can contact your local SPCA for assistance with boarding until you can find a more permanent solution.
Thirdly, plan and pack your pet’s getaway kit/bag ahead of time so that you can grab them both quickly and easily if you have to leave in a hurry. If your pet needs special medication, ensure that you have packed this as well.
Last but not least, the Animals Protection Act protects all animals, and if your abuser breaks this law, the SPCA can help you in opening a case against him.
*If you are in an abusive household, and need help, please contact one of the following organisations:
- POWA (People Opposed to Woman Abuse): 011 642 434/6
- Stop Gender Violence: 0800 150 150 (Toll-free helpline)
- Childline South Africa: 0800 055 555 (Toll-free helpline)
- The Trauma Centre: 021 465 7373