South Africa News | Jul 17, 2019

Avon South Africa holds 8th annual candle lighting ceremony to shine a light on gender-based violence in the region

Avon South Africa holds 8th annual candle lighting ceremony

Gender-based violence was given a voice and a face at the 8th annual Avon Light Up to Speak Out candle lighting ceremony, where survivors of gender-based violence shared moving and stirring testimonies of the abuse they received. Avon Justine hosted the annual ceremony on Saturday, 13 July, in Cape Town in partnership with non-governmental organisations working in the area, the 1000 Women’s Trust, Ilitha Labantu, the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women & Children and Mosaic.

The event, which was attended by 400 guests, sought to raise awareness of the issue of violence against women in South Africa and mobilise the community to stand firm against gender-based violence. It included live performances, testimonies from survivors of abuse and other speakers as well as the individual lighting of candles to celebrate survivors of gender-based violence and to commemorate those who have lost their lives.

Seventeen-year old teenage songbird, Yanga, set the scene with a rendition of Not yet Uhuru, a song about women not being free yet. The rendition of women solidarity songs, from the winner of the South Africa Idols Season 14 competition, touched a chord with many delegates who connected with the theme of the day.

The highlight of the event was a poignant testimony from a representative from 1000 Women Trust, who shared her experience of living in an abusive relationship. There was a not a dry eye in the audience when she revealed that her daughter was also violated by the same man, which prompted her to leave the relationship.

“Cold statistics on gender-based violence mask the grief and anguish that millions of women go through. Our society has become desensitised to the plight of millions of women and children whose daily reality is living with an abusive partner. Though this initiative, we have given a face and a voice to survivors of gender-based violence and reminded survivors that they are not alone.
Gender-based violence is a societal issue that requires each and every one of us to put a shoulder to the wheel. Through words and deeds, we can ensure that gender-based violence is eradicated. Avon is illuminating the issue and driving real change by providing funds and relief to NGOs including 1000 Women’s Trust, iLitha Labantu, the Saartjie Baartman Center for Women and Mosaic.” 

Bridget Bhengu, Corporate Communications Director: Avon Justine South Africa

Statistics on the prevalence of gender-based violence in South Africa paint a chilling picture - in 2018, Statistics SA and the Medical Research Council (MRC) reported that of child sexual homicide victims, 98% were female children with 50% of them being between the ages of 13 and 18. Studies have also shown that there is a close correlation between financial dependency and the prevalence of gender based violence. 

“Through stand4her, Avon is renewing its commitment to improve the lives of women by advancing their earning potential and enabling them to live a safe and healthy life. We believe that through these endeavours, we can make a lasting and impact on the lives of women.” 

Bridget Bhengu, Corporate Communications Director: Avon Justine South Africa

The testimonies that were shared at the event left a lasting impression on the delegates who attended the event.  “I would like to say a HUGE thank you for Saturday's amazing event. It was really very special. All my guests also commented on how beautiful, gripping and emotional it all was.” said Colleen De Kock, Avon Area Sales Manager.