Womxn holding up 'Silence Allows Violence' sign in a parking lot during 16 Days of Activism South Africa.

16 Days of Activism South Africa – Understanding and Contributing to the Campaign

16 Days of Activism South Africa – Understanding and Contributing to the Campaign

Introduction

Imagine a world where violence against women and children is not just a headline but a historical footnote. This is the vision that drives the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, an annual international campaign. Running from November 25 to December 10, this campaign has become a pivotal moment in South Africa’s fight against gender-based violence (GBV). In this article, we delve into the essence of the 16 Days of Activism and its profound significance.

16 Days of Activism: The Campaign's Background

The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign is part of a global United Nations campaign. It begins on November 25, the International Day of No Violence against Women, and concludes on December 10, Human Rights Day, symbolically linking violence against women and human rights and emphasizing that such violence is a violation of human rights.

Key Dates and Their Significance

  • 25 November: International Day of No Violence Against Women, marking the beginning of the campaign and spotlighting the urgent need to end violence against women and girls worldwide.
  • 29 November: International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, recognizing the courage and contribution of women who stand up for human rights and gender equality.
  • 1 December: World AIDS Day, emphasizing the intersection of gender-based violence and health, particularly in the context of HIV/AIDS.
  • 3 December: International Day of Persons with Disabilities, acknowledging the unique challenges faced by individuals with disabilities, who are often at higher risk of experiencing GBV.
  • 10 December: International Human Rights Day, concluding the campaign with a global call to respect and uphold human rights, including the right to live free from violence.

16 Days of Activism South Africa: Understanding the Local Context

In South Africa, a country grappling with high rates of GBV, the campaign transcends an annual event; it’s a clarion call for sustained action. The campaign is at the heart of the government’s comprehensive 365 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. This initiative integrates various efforts, collaborations, and partnerships across governmental and non-governmental sectors. It aims to create awareness, drive policy changes, and foster a national ethos of zero tolerance towards gender-based violence.

Empowering Actions Against Gender-Based Violence

  1. Learn and Share: Dive into understanding all about gender-based violence. It’s complex but crucial. Share what you learn with your friends and family. Here is a good resource from Safer Space to get a better understanding of GBV.  It starts by spreading awareness!
  2. Be There for Survivors: Sometimes, just being there to listen and support someone can make all the difference. If you know someone who’s been through it, just being a shoulder to lean on means the world. Encourage them gently to seek help if they need it, but remember, it’s their journey, and they’re in control. See some resources below that might help you or someone you know.
  3. Challenge the Norms: We’ve all heard those outdated sayings and seen unfair treatment, right? Let’s be the change-makers. Speak up against discrimination and stand up for equality in your circle. Every conversation counts, and you have the power to make people think and act differently. Caution: just ensure that your safety is prioritised.
  4. Create Safe Spaces: Whether it’s at your workplace, school, or even within our friend group, let’s make sure everyone feels safe and respected. Advocate for policies that protect everyone’s rights. Remember, a safe space is where we all thrive.
  5. Lend a Hand: There are so many phenomenal organisations out there fighting against gender-based violence. Have you ever thought about volunteering your time, donating money, or organizing a small fundraiser? Every bit helps, and together, our contributions can make a huge impact. Below are some organisations you can support.

Supporting South African NGOs During the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

Actively engage with organizations leading the battle against GBV by considering volunteering, donating, or even amplifying their mission through your networks. Your involvement, especially during the 16 Days of Activism and beyond, can create lasting change and bring us closer to ending gender-based violence. Some notable organizations include:

Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children (SBCWC):

  • Mission: Provides comprehensive services to women and children who are survivors of abuse, including crisis response, legal assistance, and job-skills training.
  • Phone: +27 21 633 5287
  • Website: www.saartjiebaartmancentre.org.za

TEARS Foundation:

  • Mission: Offers crisis intervention, advocacy, counseling, and prevention education for those affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, and child sexual abuse.
  • Helpline: 1347355#
  • Website: www.tears.co.za

The Frida Hartley Shelter:

  • Mission: Offers shelter and support to homeless women and children who have survived neglect, abuse, trauma, and homelessness, and aids young homeless mothers.
  • Phone: 011 648 6005
  • Website: www.fridahartley.org

People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA):

  • Mission: Provides shelters, counseling, and legal advice to GBV survivors, and engages in advocacy, community outreach, and feminist research.
  • Phone: 011 642 4345
  • Website: www.powa.co.za

Rape Crisis Centre:

  • Mission: Supports survivors of rape and sexual assault through counselling, court support, and community prevention strategies, aiming to reduce trauma and encourage reporting.
  • Crisis Line: 021 447 9762
  • Website: rapecrisis.org.za

Nisaa Institute for Women’s Development:

  • Mission: Focuses on preventing gender violence and empowering women who have been abused. Provides counseling, shelter services, and engages in awareness and advocacy.
  • Phone: 011 854 5804/5
  • Website: www.nisaa.org.za

Shukumisa:

  • Mission: A coalition working to address sexual violence and improve legislation, supporting a diverse range of communities, including those with disabilities and the LGBTI community.
  • Phone: 021 447 1467
  • Website: shukumisa.org.za

SOS Numbers: Essential Contacts for GBV Support

If you or someone you know needs to report gender-based violence or seek help, these numbers and websites can be lifesaving. Keep them accessible:

SAPS Crime Stop:

Gender-Based Violence Command Centre:

Stop Gender Violence Helpline:

Family and Marriage Society of South Africa (FAMSA):

  • Phone: (011) 975 7107
  • Website: FAMSA 

Childline:

National Crisis Line (Lifeline):

Having these numbers and websites at your fingertips can make a critical difference in urgent situations. Remember, reaching out for help is a brave and necessary step in the journey to safety and healing.

Conclusion

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence serves as a reminder that the fight against GBV is ongoing and requires our collective effort. In South Africa, where the impact of GBV is deeply felt, this campaign provides a platform for change, advocacy, and empowerment. Let us stand together in solidarity, advocating for a society where safety, respect, and equality are the norms, not only during these 16 days but every day.

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Palesa Mashinini

About the Author: I am an advocate for personal safety, and I am passionate about all things personal development.

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Standing Strong: Valuable Self-Defense Lessons from Nashali Alma’s Story

Standing Strong: Valuable Self-Defense Lessons from Nashali Alma’s Story

Introduction

Today, the importance of personal safety is felt by many. The challenges encountered by Nashali, a dedicated fitness enthusiast, serve as a powerful echo. One evening, while in her apartment’s gym, she faced an unexpected challenge. Recognizing a fellow resident struggling to enter, she assisted, only to confront an attempt at assault. The gym’s security system captured the incident, leading to the man’s arrest. This widely viewed incident underscores the importance of personal safety and preparedness. With empathy and care, we’ll discuss the lessons learned from her experience in this article. Viewer Discretion/Trigger Warning: The video captures Nashali’s courageous resistance against an attempted assault. It depicts actions like grabbing, bear hugs, and being pinned down. Nashali’s resilience shines as she escapes, but please be aware that the content can be unsettling for some. Click the video below to see what happened.

Verbal self-defence lessons as a de-escalation technique

Verbal self-defense, also known as verbal judo or verbal aikido, is a strategy and set of communication skills used to prevent, de-escalate, or end an attempted assault or any aggressive behaviour through the use of language. It’s about using words and body language to prevent or end a potentially harmful situation without resorting to physical violence. In Nashali’s case, we witness from the beginning her telling the attacker to back off, to not grab her, which was 100% in alignment with her body posture and movement.

Strength Isn't Just Physical

Beyond her physical strength, Nashali’s mental resilience was evident. Throughout the entire incident, she continued to fight her way out to escape and did not stop. She kept believing in her ability to defend herself. Why it’s important: Mental strength often plays an important role in critical situations. Physical strength is vital, but mental strength is the anchor that holds it all together. 

 

Trust Your Intuition

From the outset, Nashali’s instincts were on high alert. She was aware of her environment and as soon as she noticed him coming closer she stopped training, both her hands were free and she was facing the attacker. She noticed the attacker coming closer, not respecting her personal space and used both her hands to push him away and create distance. Shortly after, she grabs her phone with one hand while using the other hand to keep him at a distance. Why it’s important: Our intuition is a powerful tool and trusting it ourselves can be lifesaving, which goes far beyond self-defence lessons. 

 

Space is Your Friend

Nashali’s tactic of maintaining distance was crucial. She was able to use the workout bench to create space, giving her time to access her phone to call for help. Also, whatever opportunity she got she used to move and run away. She never stood still. Why it’s important: Having space between you and potential threats can be a crucial buffer, allowing you to think and act. A practical tip to adopt this mindset is to practice situational awareness. As you navigate your day, take brief moments to observe your surroundings, spotting potential tools that could help create space, offer defence, or alert nearby individuals. This practice trains your mind to spot immediate solutions.

Self-Defense Lessons: Basic Moves to Learn

Nashali was focused on ensuring her safety. By acting quickly and avoiding extended conflict, she reduced danger. With confidence, she used palm strikes, hammer punches, and her arms to maintain distance. Impressively, she even turned her phone into a self-defense tool, striking the attacker’s face and causing some injury. Sometimes everyday objects can be your allies in ensuring safety. Why it’s important: Basic self-defense techniques can be empowering. It’s like having a first-aid kit; you hope never to use it, but it’s comforting to know it’s there. In a world of uncertainties, being equipped with defensive skills offers a sense of control. In the video, we notice two simple actions – palm strikes and hammer punches. Just knowing these can help a lot. It’s not about how strong you are, but using what you know and trusting it. Every bit of learning helps. Below we have a short video showing what the difference between a punch, palm strike and hammer punch is.

Conclusion

Nashali Alma’s story serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of willpower. As she said herself in the video; “as long as you don’t give up, you fight back, you show him that you are strong, that you are one to fight back and get out of that situation, I believe it’s possible”. After some research, we found out that Nashali teamed up with Youfit Gyms and instructor Jason Bleistein to teach self-defense classes. 

Her commitment to empowering others is a testament to her strength and resilience. Every step we take towards our safety, no matter how small, is a step towards empowerment. Whether learning a simple self-defense move or being more aware of our surroundings, every effort counts. 

 

How do you empower yourself and ensure your personal safety in your daily life? Share your tips and strategies with our community.

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Palesa Mashinini

About the Author: I am an advocate for personal safety, and I am passionate about all things personal development.

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What is an Upstander vs bystander?

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Palesa Mashinini

About the Author: I am an advocate for personal safety, and I am passionate about all things personal development.

What is an Upstander vs bystander?

In social situations, there are often people who stand by and watch while others are being treated unjustly or experiencing harm. These individuals are known as bystanders. Bystander behavior is a well-documented phenomenon known as the bystander effect. This refers to the tendency for individuals to be less likely to help in a situation where others are present, assuming that someone else will intervene instead. On the other hand, there are those who take action to intervene and defend the person being targeted, known as upstanders. Understanding the difference between the two is crucial in creating a safer and more just society.

Understanding the Power of Being an Upstander

Upstanders have the power to make a positive impact and create change in their communities. It is important to note that being an upstander is not always easy and may come with personal risks, but it is a crucial step in creating a safer and more just society. Bystanders have the power to be upstanders. Additionally, it is important to remember that it is not only physical harassment that needs to be addressed but also cyberbullying and discrimination. Being an upstander can mean standing up against discrimination of all forms, including racism, sexism, and homophobia. You can perform an upstander self-assessment by relying on your instincts, considering your values, and asking yourself the questions “Is this appropriate?” or “If I were in that situation, would I accept such conduct?” If the response is negative, take action!

How to Become an Upstander, proactively?

 

Have you ever witnessed a situation where someone was being harassed or bullied, but you didn’t know how to respond? Here are 4 ways you can become an upstander and provide assistance proactively.

  1. One way to intervene is by distracting the harasser while engaging with the target. Firstly, always ask for the target’s consent before intervening. They may have their own strategies or preferences for handling the situation. You can ask the target if they’re okay, need help, or know the harasser. Another approach is to pretend you know the target and start a casual conversation with them. You can ask questions such as; “Hey, how are you, I missed class today and wanted to ask if you can share your notes with me”, or, “Hey, I didn’t see you during our lunch break today, keen to catch up for coffee now”? Be creative! These actions can provide the target with an opportunity to leave the situation safely. Remember, even a small effort can make a big difference in someone’s life.
  2. Only if you feel comfortable and are safe doing this, you could confront the harasser directly and give them feedback. The following phrases are examples and can be effective in communicating that certain behavior is unacceptable:
    • Stop!
    • Help is on the way!
    • That is not okay!
    • This is not acceptable.
    • You can clearly see she is uncomfortable, why would you say/do something like that?
    • She said No, please respect her boundaries!

    Being brave enough to stand up to harassment is a powerful way to create a safer environment.

  3. While implementing tip two, you can take out your phone discreetly and record the conversation or take a video so you can have evidence. This can be helpful if the situation escalates, but it’s important to remember to prioritize your safety at all times.
  4. It’s crucial to check the target’s well-being and safety after the incident. Ask if they need any help or support and if they want to report the incident. Showing empathy and support can make all the difference for them to process the situation.


How to Become an Upstander, discreetly?

 

As an active bystander, you have the power to intervene and help without putting yourself in danger. Let’s take a look at 4 ways to become an upstander discreetly, and still make a difference.

  1. If you’re hesitant to intervene directly, you can still make a difference by asking others to help you. Call out to other bystanders and encourage them to assist you in stopping the harassment. You could say something like “this is not right, let’s intervene together” or “this situation is unacceptable, we have to do something”. You can delegate tasks, such as calling the police, alerting supervisors, recording the incident with your phone (and not being a bystander by watching what is happening through your phone), and de-escalating the situation by getting others involved. This simple yet effective action plan can create a ripple effect of positive change among those witnessing the situation.
  2. In case you’re unsure and want to act quickly, use a personal self-defence alarm keychain. Pulling the pin on will activate a 140-decibel ear-piercing sound and radiate up to 200 meters, which can attract attention to the situation, cause a temporary moment of distraction, and help you evaluate the situation while creating a safe distance from the harasser. This can potentially lead to utilizing the first tip, by encouraging others to help stop the harassment.
  3. In a public place, seek out a security guard or a store employee for assistance. They are trained to handle situations like these and can help protect you and the target from harm.
  4. Even if you don’t want to put yourself in the center of that situation, you can still check on the target’s well-being and safety after the incident. Ask if they need any help or support and if they want to report the incident. This extended support as an upstander goes a long way.


Prioritizing Your Mental Health as an Upstander: Why It’s Important

 

As an upstander, it is crucial to prioritize your mental health. Witnessing uncomfortable or potentially traumatic situations can take a toll on your emotional well-being. While it is important to help those in need, it’s equally important to take care of yourself. Remember, you don’t have to handle the weight of the situation alone. Reach out to a friend, family member, or mental health professional for support. Taking care of your mental health as an upstander not only benefits you but also helps you to better support those around you. So, take a deep breath and make sure to focus on your own well-being too!


How RightToBe’s Bystander Intervention Training Helps Create Safer Communities

Right To Be offers bystander intervention training to help people develop the skills to safely and effectively intervene in situations of harm. The training teaches individuals how to recognize harmful situations, choose appropriate interventions, and create a safer environment for everyone. I personally have participated in their training and can definitely recommend it. And no worries, it’s free and definitely well-invested time. Follow this link for more information.


Making A Difference Through Active Engagement by Becoming an Upstander

 

In conclusion, being a bystander can perpetuate the cycle of harm and injustice, while being an upstander can make a positive impact and create change. By educating yourself, speaking out, being an ally, and calling for help when needed, you can become an upstander and make a difference in your community. It’s important to be proactive and to take action when you see someone being treated unjustly or experiencing harm. A little bit of kindness goes a long way.

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Understanding Public Street Harassment & What Can Be Done to Combat it in South Africa

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Palesa Mashinini

About the Author: I am an advocate for personal safety, and I am passionate about all things personal development.

Understanding Public Street Harassment & What Can Be Done to Combat it in South Africa

Imagine a world free of public street harassment – one where you can walk anywhere and feel safe. ⁣⁣It seems too hard to imagine. Simple things such as running errands can be mundane and seemingly effortless tasks, but for some people, it can be a source of immense anxiety due to street harassment. Public street harassment is a major concern facing women, non-binary & gender non-conforming people as well as children in South Africa which has been ignored for far too long. Unfortunately, Public Street Harassment has been normalized in our day-to-day life and plays a huge part in not only Gender Based Violence but Rape Culture in South Africa.

 

What is Public Street Harassment?

 

Public Street Harassment and harassment, in general, can come in the form of physical and verbal abuse. It often correlates with sexual intent and violates a person’s right to safety. According to the U.N. and other Global Organizations, Public Street Harassment “is considered a Human Rights issue” as this restricts a person’s power and right to enter public spaces safely and comfortably. >

It is important to know the different types of harassment, how to recognize them, and how to report them if they violate your rights. According to Rainn.org harassment includes the following behaviors:

  • Comments, requests, and demands
  • Commenting on physical appearances, such as someone’s body or the clothing they’re wearing
  • Continuing to talk to someone after they have asked to be left alone
  • Flashing, following, stalking, staring, whistling, groping, or telling someone to smile
  • Intentionally invading personal space or blocking the way
  • Persistent requests for someone’s name, number, or other information
  • Public masturbation or touching
  • Sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic slurs, or any comments insulting or demeaning an aspect of someone’s identity
  • Showing pornographic images without someone’s consent
  • Taking a photo of someone without their consent
  • Up-skirting, which is taking a photo up a skirt or dress without that person’s permission

                      The impact of Public Street Harassment on South African women, non-binary & gender non-conforming people, and children

                      Women, non-binary & gender non-conforming people, and children in South Africa regularly face “state-facilitated” and “socially-practiced” violence and discrimination from a historical standpoint compared to their male counterparts. This feeds off the deep underlying misogyny and patriarchy we face in this country.

                      Street harassment is a common issue that harms both those who experience it and communities as a whole. It can make people feel unsafe, intimidated, and powerless in public spaces. Street harassment can lead to physical and psychological trauma, as well as discourage people from participating in public activities. This form of harassment also has long-term effects on the community by creating an environment of fear and insecurity which can inhibit economic growth, social inclusion, and civic engagement. We must take steps to address this problem to create safe and welcoming public spaces for everyone.

                      How can you respond to street harassment?

                      • No one should have to feel unsafe in their community. Unfortunately, street harassment is a reality for far too many of us. Street harassment is not just an inconvenience or a joke – it can be extremely traumatic and dangerous. Here are a few general safety tips, but the best advice is to speak up, trust your intuition, and know that your voice matters!
                      • Be aware of your surroundings and stay alert. We wrote a blog post on situational awareness to help you understand how best to navigate your day.
                      • Trust your intuition at all times! If you sense someone is invading your personal space, scan your environment for other people, shops, or security guards. Navigate towards a more crowded area and ask someone who looks trustworthy for help, or stand with them until you feel it is safe to proceed. A “trustworthy” person could be a mom with children, for example.
                      • If you can and time allows, contact a family member or friend, inform them about the situation and ask them to support you or pick you up.
                      • Unexpected situations can quickly escalate and leave you feeling vulnerable. We advise you to carry some type of self-defence tool, such as an alarm keychain, which you can use to set off an ear-piercing alarm that will scare off a harasser and activate your surroundings. Click here and check out the range of products to help you stay secure in a threatening situation.
                      • You shouldn’t feel scared or ashamed to speak out when you experience street harassment. It can be difficult to build up the courage to speak up, but you don’t have to do it alone. Report it to the police or talk to a trusted person, such as a friend or professional counselor, about how you want to handle the situation.
                      • You must make sure your safety is always a priority!

                      Organizations fighting against Gender-Based Violence and Harassment in South Africa

                      There are many campaigns and initiatives aimed at Public Street Harassment and Gender-Based Violence. The Frida Hartley Shelter, Tears Foundation, POWA, Thuthuzela Care Centres, and Childline South Africa are examples of organizations fighting against Gender-Based Violence and Harassment in South Africa by providing a support network for survivors of rape, sexual abuse, and harassment. We encourage you to support such organizations – big or small – your contribution goes a long way.

                       

                      Here is a list of important numbers that you should ideally have on speed dial:

                       
                      • Emergency number: 10111
                      • SAPS Crime Stop: 086 00 10111
                      • Ambulance services:
                      • National hotline: 10177
                      • ER24: 084124
                      • Netcare: 082911
                      • Fire department: 10178
                      • Human trafficking helpline: 08000 737 283 / 082 455 3664
                      • Heal (helpline for elderly people): 0800 003 081

                      We would like to acknowledge that seeking change and a better future takes unity and advocacy. We as a community could over time decrease the likelihood of Gender Based Violence and Public Street Harassment occurring in our country! It is our mission at Secanity to raise awareness and provide practical solutions to empower women, non-binary & gender non-conforming people, and children in South Africa. We hope this blog post was helpful! If you have any tips or thoughts you want to share, please drop a comment below.

                       

                      And always remember: Be Woke. Be Smart. Be Heard. 

                       

                      References: 

                      • https://pinkpangea.com/2014/06/eye-opening-encounter-with-sexism-in-south-africa/
                      • Street harassment part of SA’s rape culture, say experts on why men feel ‘entitled’ to women’s bodies | Drum (news24.com)
                      • South Africa: patriarchy, paper, and reclaiming feminism | openDemocracy
                      • South Africa: The Safe Ride Campaign | Stop Street Harassment
                      • https://brooklynmovementcenter.org/hollaback-finding-effective-solutions-street-harassment/
                      • https://stopstreetharassment.org/toolkits/campaigning/
                      • https://tears.co.za/about-us/
                      • https://www.thedailyvox.co.za/8-organisations-fighting-gender-based-violence-shaazia-ebrahim

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                      Public Street Harassment in South Africa and its impact
                      Situational Awareness Tips & Tricks for solo travelers

                      8 Ways to Achieve Higher Levels of Situational Awareness

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                      Inge Holzträger

                      About the Author: Inge Holzträger is a GBV activist who is passionate about making small changes where she can. She believes that something positive can come out of a horrible situation if you look for it.

                      8 Ways to Achieve Higher Levels of Situational Awareness

                      "Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness." - James Thurber

                      So let’s talk about situational awareness. It can be as simple as being aware of what is happening around you in terms of where you are, where you are supposed to be, and if anyone or anything around you is a threat to you in terms of your health and safety. We have all heard the phrase “be safe” when heading out into public spaces, most likely from a friend or family member. Knowing what it means versus actually incorporating certain habits into your daily activities are two different approaches – so how do we use what we know to determine whether a situation is safe or not?

                      Situational awareness is individual and different to each person and is, therefore, only as accurate as our perception or reading of the situation. How we read our environment is influenced by many factors such as the type of information we have been given, our own experience as well as current distractions diverting our attention.

                      So, why is situational awareness important? In a potentially threatening situation, you are the first responder, so the most critical benefit of practising these habits is that you win over time. It is essential to scan your surroundings, anticipate the behaviour of others, and predict what could happen so that your brain can work out a plan to keep you safe. Therefore, it is not just crucial for your personal security but is also a fundamental building block for collective security.

                      Now, you might be thinking that is great information but what can I do to improve my situational awareness? Make a conscious decision to implement these 8 simple tips every day to enhance your situational awareness

                      1. Be mindfulPractice being “in the moment”. When you are aware of your surroundings, your senses are all engaged. Therefore, you can hear, smell and see everything to react a lot quicker. If you feel like your mind is very busy and you are having a hard time focusing, a quick way to be more present is to take 3 deep breaths.
                      2. Identify exits when entering any public space – A public space can be a shopping mall, restaurant, school, gym, etc. When entering such locations, it’s best to allocate the exits. For example, if you can’t see a door, scan for windows. Anything can be an exit. This could prove useful in an emergency.
                      3. Watch people without staring – Be present by observing people around you, and how they react and express themselves. This is a great way to understand what’s going on around you.
                      4. Notice nonverbal cues – Nonverbal communication can tell you a lot about how people are feeling. Does their body language line up with what they’re saying? Most people have a giveaway that tells you they’re perhaps lying, nervous or angry.
                      5. Limit distractions – While distractions can’t always be eliminated, you can also reduce your distractions. Not being present makes you more vulnerable. If you enjoy listening to music while walking, why not try using one earphone and reducing the sound? When walking alone try not to be glued to your phone so you can scan your environment. Most “trips” are short and temporary, you can always engage in these activities when you are in a safe space.
                      6. Trust your gut feeling – Listen to your instincts. If you feel uneasy about someone or a specific place, rather remove yourself from that situation by listening to your intuition, even if there’s no visible danger. This way you train your body to trust your instinct, which in return boosts your level of confidence to always want to put your safety first.
                      7. Be strategic – Ask yourself regularly if you feel safe in the space that you are in. This will give you an indication of how alert and present you need to be to make proactive decisions for your safety.
                      8. Carry a self-defence toolin the event that someone threatens your personal safety and invades your personal space, it is best to have some type of reinforcing self-defence tool with you, such as The Woke Self-Defense Alarm Keychain, which can distract and scare off a potential attacker. 
                              Remember: It is important to know that in a situation where you are feeling unsafe, it is not your fault. You have the right to feel safe and to take precautionary measures. See situational awareness as a tool to help you become more conscious of what is happening around you. It’s a great way to stay alert, practice staying calm, and train your brain to develop a plan of action in case of an emergency. When you train your ability to be situationally aware, you reduce the risk of freezing up. This enables you to focus on your safety, embrace your power, and feel more comfortable in your ability to protect yourself.

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                              Personal Safety 101: An Introduction!

                              Picture of Palesa Mashinini

                              Palesa Mashinini

                              About the Author: I am an advocate for personal safety, and I am passionate about all things personal development.

                              Personal Safety 101: An Introduction!

                              “Some things aren’t normal; they have been normalized. There’s a difference!”

                              Personal safety is a complex and sensitive topic, yet one of the most important life skills we ALL need, but as a society, we are honestly still at the beginning. Personal safety entails recognizing and avoiding potentially dangerous situations or people in your environment. So, what does that really mean? 

                               

                              At Secanity we believe personal safety consists of 4 pillars: –

                               

                              • General resources (knowing your rights, education on personal safety as well as knowing which organizations are out there). 
                              • The right mindset (consisting of e.g., self-love, personal development, intuition, boundaries, etc.).
                              • Verbal self-defence (how to articulate your boundaries and de-escalate potentially threatening situations). 
                              • Physical self-defence (using what you have and being able to protect yourself).  

                              Unfortunately, personal safety is mostly perceived reactively, only when something has happened do we tend to engage with tools and information for more personal protection. 


                              At Secanity we are advocates for “Preparedness is everything” as a mindset and that does not mean you, therefore, live a fearful and paranoid life, it means you are cultivating daily habits that contribute to more confidence, assertiveness, empowerment, as well as sharpening your situational awareness – enabling you to be more conscious and aware of potentially threatening situations. Owning and embracing your power as an individual. The fear of someone invading your personal space is scary, and the fact is, written words and reality are two different things. We just want to encourage you to try not to let the fear of what might happen to keep you from living your life. The thing is when it comes to an emergency, we usually are the first responders present at that moment, and by the time the police or help comes, minutes pass by. So, the question then becomes what options do you have in that short period to de-escalate the situation, protect yourself and escape safely?


                              Let’s take a quick detour into one of the subtopics of our pillars and get one thought pattern out the way before we proceed. 


                              When we think about self-defence or personal safety, many limiting beliefs come to mind: this would never happen to me, I’m careful, I don’t need that, self-defence is not my thing, self-defence is too expensive, women who learn self-defence lose their femininity, it takes too long to learn, someone in a position of trust must be a good person, I am not at risk from them. I am too old, unfit, young, short, etc. to fight back. I used to have the limiting belief that my brothers will magically appear and protect me. If we are out and about together, sure, it could work. In reality, though, I spend most of my time alone. So, when I started engaging in all things personal safety, I realized that we are stronger than we think and that we only have this one life (Sorry for being so dramatic), but the thought of being able to confidently have options to protect myself, gave me comfort and peace of mind. I am fully aware that nothing in life has a guarantee, but through this journey of getting a deeper insight into this topic, I now have a better understanding of myself and my boundaries – I am willing and ready, at all times, to make my safety a priority every single day.


                              Let’s pause for a moment and go within – scan if you can think of any limiting beliefs you may have around personal safety or self-defence? If you like, write them down, analyze them and see if you are comfortable thinking about how you would like to feel, and how you would like to change that narrative. Limiting beliefs is not an easy topic, but we will get back to that at a later stage in another blog post. For now, let’s try to write a fresh chapter on fearlessness? You have everything you need within you and that’s perfectly enough. Let’s normalize the narrative on personal safety and embody that we are powerful enough to protect ourselves. You hold great power.

                               

                              Detour complete. Let’s continue… 


                              I think I speak for many when I say this topic per se is a frustrating one – on top of all the other stressors we face, we now have to also increasingly worry about our own safety. I think this quote from an unknown author visualizes this problem quite well:A man in a room full of women is ecstatic. A woman in a room full of men is terrified.” – Unknown


                              Millions of womxn and children live with a constant sense of dread and fear about their personal safety, which has the effect of draining them of their autonomy. On the other hand, women’s safety is a matter of context, and there is no one-size-fits-all method for protecting a woman. Our mission is to provide different perspectives, information, and tools so that you can put together your own personal safety strategy that works for you.  

                              Honing in on this and defining your safety strategy is not easy. We have a Personal Safety Strategy Template with a set of questions to help get the process started. Type in your email below to get your free pdf today. You will notice that when writing down your answers you will be able to better understand what safety means to you. 

                              Personal Safety 101 Workbook



                              Let us know in the comment section below what your definition of personal safety is


                              Thanks for being here and of course, stay tuned for more blog posts as we take a deeper dive into our 4 pillars packed with practical tips & tricks for more peace of mind. 


                              Sending you love, light, and peace.


                              PS: Your safety is non-negotiable. It is indeed all that matters. Give it all it takes to be safe, so you can focus on yourself. 

                               

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                              Personal Safety Tips for Women and Children in South Africa
                              Self-Defence Workshop South Africa

                              Personal Safety Workshop with Terra Nova Ceramics

                              Picture of Palesa Mashinini

                              Palesa Mashinini

                              About the Author: I am an advocate for personal safety, and I am passionate about all things personal development.

                              Personal Safety Workshop with Terra Nova Ceramics

                              On the 9th of April, we had the privilege of hosting a Women Empowerment Workshop for Terra Nova Ceramics, a leading manufacturer & supplier of consumables for fire assay laboratories in the gold and platinum industries. Based in Meyerton, South Africa, they provide cost-effective consumable solutions to mining companies and fire assay laboratories throughout Africa and internationally.

                              For this year’s International Women’s Day Terra Nova Ceramics wanted to host a Personal Safety Workshop for their female staff members with the following objectives in mind:

                              • Empowerment
                              • Team building
                              • Creating a safety culture that amplifies their company values
                              • Ensuring that their female staff members have tools and information that contribute to their general personal safety, confidence and well-being.

                              Our programme focuses on why we all need a personal safety strategy and educates participants on practical tools, including techniques, on how to deal with public street harassment, the importance of prevention, various de-escalation techniques, how to become an up-stander without endangering yourself, and practical self-defence techniques that can easily be implemented regardless of your fitness level and age.

                              Together with iDefend Krav Maga and the Growing up without a Father Foundation, we were able to ensure that all participants left our workshop feeling empowered, confident and enabled.

                              Our workshop consisted of the following three pillars:

                              • Personal Safety Talk from Palesa. To find out more about Secanity, please click here.
                              • Practical Self-defence training from Anthony. To find out more about iDefend Krav Maga, please click here.
                              • A motivational talk on personal development from Dr Charley Pietersen. To find out more about the Growing Up Without A Father Foundation, please click here.

                              At the end of the workshop, we had a survey and some of the staff members responded with the following feedback:

                              • “I would like Secanity to keep on with their workshops because a lot of women need to know that loving and protecting yourself is quite important.
                              • “Being made aware of myself & my worth. The fact that I can use my body as a weapon“.
                              • “Being more aware of my surroundings, not be afraid to take a stand when something feels unsafe or uncomfortable.
                              • “I learned how to love myself, how to protect myself, and that I need to be myself and not anybody else.

                              We also took the time to interview all the organisations that made this event a success and received the following feedback:

                              “Terra Nova Ceramics was able to take hands with Secanity, iDefend and Growing up without a Father Foundation, to provide a platform to our ladies in the workplace.  The feedback we received from our ladies was positive and inspiring.  We as a company feel we can make a difference in empowering our ladies to be safe and knowing their self-worth. Such a great event for any organization to host”. –Terra Nova Ceramics Management.

                              “iDefend Krav Maga was honoured to be part of the workshop for the ladies of Terra Nova Ceramics. We enjoyed helping the ladies to empower themselves through self-defence techniques, situational awareness and hearing their biggest fears. Thank you to all involved for the great morning”. – Anthony from iDefend Krav Maga 

                              “I applaud the company Terra Nova Ceramics for inviting us to speak to their female staff members. I believe that we have made a great impact on the one side, and on the other hand, it was great to see some of the ladies talking about how they will take action and work towards putting themselves and their aspirations first”.Dr Charley Pietersen from the Growing Up Without A Father Foundation

                              We want to take this moment to thank everyone who made this day unforgettable.

                              PS: Do you want to host such an event for your company? Click here for more information and join us on our mission as we empower one woman and child at a time, thereby creating a ripple effect of enablement within communities, public spaces and organisations.

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