22 August 2013

Vital says no to women and child abuse

Vital Health Foods has founded the Vital Foundation to help in the fight against women and child abuse.

The wall of protection starts with one rand. This is the line that encompasses a campaign that Vital Health Foods has launched on Women’s Day. This is the pledge that will be made: for every Vital vitamin supplement purchased, Vital Health Foods will donate one rand to the Vital Foundation, which has been created to support organisations in the fight against women and child abuse.

For George Grieve, the managing director at Vital Health Foods, it was enough. He wants to make a tangible contribution to the fight against abuse in South Africa. This is how the idea for a campaign was born; it has now grown into the Vital Foundation.

1 woman raped every 4 minutes

The statistics on abuse seem to be growing at an exponential rate, some of these include that a woman is raped every four minutes; 64 000 rape cases were reported in 2012; one out of four men admitted to raping; and one in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten – irrespective of race, background and economic status.

Vital Health Foods is no longer going to let the statistics stack up; they are going to take action. All the money collected from the Vital vitamin sales will help build a wall of protection against women and child abuse. The campaign hopes to inspire and empower the public to make a difference in the lives of victims. With the correct support, the wounds of abuse can start to heal. The Vital Foundation aims to help facilitate that healing process.

George Grieve explains: "The Vital Foundation provides access to expert information on women and child abuse and the services and assistance that are available through its portal: This makes a wide range of resources from various organisations, specialists and activists visible to all South Africans and the world through one platform. We aim to integrate and co-ordinate services in a holistic way to support those affected by this scourge and those committed to fighting for a safe and healthy society."

"The Vital Foundation will provide funding to organisations currently offering services related to women and child abuse. Organisations, groups and individuals will be invited to apply for funding later this year. Through its behaviour change approach to addressing this issue, the Vital Foundation will facilitate platforms across the media and in conjunction with other stakeholders and partners, ensuring that the issue of women and child abuse is given the prominence and prolonged exposure it deserves. The Vital Foundation is committed to constantly improving and extending its data and support to local initiatives in communities addressing women and child abuse, while also making known the latest scientific research on the issue."

35% of women are victims of violence

It is such scientific research that takes the emotion out of the equation to show that women and child abuse is not a "South African" problem, or a "poor" problem, or a "township" problem, but a global problem. A report by the World Health Organization (WHO), London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and South African Medical Research Council released in June, which looked at data from 81 countries, shows that 35% of women around the world are victims of sexual or physical violence, and a whopping 30% of women globally are domestic violence victims.

Professor Rachel Jewkes, Director of the Gender & Health Research Unit of the South African Medical Research Council and Secretary of the Sexual Violence Research Initiative, is Specialist Advisor to the Vital Foundation. She is widely recognised as the foremost expert on gender-based violence in South Africa, and her research both in South Africa and with the WHO has highlighted the huge extent of the problem.

The Vital Foundation’s activities rest on the bedrock of the imperative of achieving behaviour change at many levels to address this issue in an integrated, holistic way. Adds Jewkes: "The absolute imperative is we have to change the underlying social attitudes, which are partly rooted in our incredibly disturbed past and the way that South African men over the centuries have been socialised into forms of masculinity that are predicated on the idea of being strong and tough and the use of force to assert dominance and control over women, as well as other men."

The Vital Foundation does not seek to replace or compete with any of the current initiatives or organisations making a difference in addressing this complex issue. It seeks to align with and bolster these initiatives by making its contribution in supporting great work already being done by organisations such as Unicef, the MRC Gender and Health Research Unit, government departments, Expresso and Doctor’s Orders, MXit and Crimeline.

For more information about the Vital Foundation visit or like the Vital Foundation Facebook page.

Do you, or someone close to you, need help? Click here.

Vital Foundation press release




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