I love South African men. They are strong, funny and smart. But one thing I can't get my head around is how some of the men in this country do nothing when their friends behave disrespectfully toward women. In no society should this be OK. By allowing your friends to use the term 'slut' or 'whore' you are allowing them to take it to the next level. Respect women. They are your mothers and your sisters.
Legacy Lifestyle blows the whistle on violent crime against women
In answer to the growing violence against women and children in South Africa, luxury rewards programme Legacy Lifestyle has taken a stand and launched an innovative corporate social initiative. 'Blow The Whistle' is an independent entity, a registered non-profit organisation, and a campaign to improve the safety of South Africans. The campaign, supported by the SABC Foundation, not only strives to create awareness around the issue, but also encourages people to stand together, and aims to equip women and children with additional safety measures when they're at their most vulnerable.
New statistics show that 1 in 3 women in South Africa will be raped. In fact, a South African female is more likely to be raped by the time she turns 18 than she is to receive an education.
"The statistics are not just chilling, they're a desperate cry for definitive action." says Legacy Group Chairman, Bart Dorrestein. "We can't just sit back and place the entire responsibility on the government's shoulders. As businesses - and as individuals - we have a responsibility to add our own strengths to the fight against violent crime and especially the epidemic of rape and abuse against women in our country."
It was the brutal gang-rape, mutilation, and murder of 17-year-old Anene Booysen last year that incited Legacy Lifestyle to action. Anene was still alive when she was found by a security guard, but died in hospital later that day.
It was during a marketing workshop with co-founder 5fm presenter, Sureshnie Rider that the concept of 'Blow The Whistle' was born. Rider recounts, "Knowing that she lay alone in the dark for hours, frightened, and in unimaginable pain, made us all see things differently. We wondered if her life could have been saved if she had a whistle to blow." To which the decision was made "lets do it" remarks Dorrestein.
An integral part of the 'Blow the Whistle' campaign is the production and sale of whistles. The whistles are available for purchase at Legacy Hotels and Cross Trainer stores across the country. Corporates who get involved are also invited to procure whistles for their staff and customers. The aim is to encourage all South Africans to wear these whistles - women and children in particular. When the wearer feels threatened, the whistle functions as a tool to alert others and call for help. The proceeds from the sale of the whistles will be used to purchase rape kits to help ensure the correct prosecution of rapists.
Not content to leave it at that, 'Blow The Whistle' is also introducing an innovative mobi app. Dorrestein explains, "We as a community are rocked by stories of women who have been robbed, assaulted, raped or murdered on their way home from school, work, or the shops. We understand that is unreasonable to try and prevent women from being alone physically - so we're doing it through technology."
The mobi app, available for free download on the 'Blow The Whistle' website, can be used on iOS and Android initially, with Blackberry and Windows versions in development. The app, which is equipped with a panic button, enables the user to nominate four trusted guardians to watch over them when they're alone.
In this way at any stage the user can use the app to alert their guardians of their need for help by using the panic button function.
The App is equipped with a 'Journey' dashboard when making a trip that allows the user to select their destination and estimate their time of arrival. This information is then sent to the appointed guardians. If the allocated time is coming to an end, the app prompts the user to enter a security code to stop or to extend the trip. When the code is not entered, or if it's entered incorrectly three times, a notification is sent to the guardians along with the user's coordinates.
To help drive this campaign forward, 'Blow The Whistle' has reached out to some of South Africa's most prominent celebrities to take on brand ambassador roles. The star-studded list of ambassadors include co-founder Sureshnie Rider as well as Joanne Strauss, Leanne Dlamini, Gareth Cliff, Catherine Grenfell, James Small, Jackie Cameron, Catriona Andrews, Jonathan Boynton-Lee, DJ Milkshake, Mac Masina, Gary Player, Kriya Gangiah, Tanya Van Graan, Siya Kolisi, Zakeeya Patel, Ryk Neethling, Stefan Terblanche, Bailey Schneider, Kurt Darren, Vanessa Haywood, and Siv Ngesi.
In order to maximise awareness of the campaign, 'Blow The Whistle' has partnered with media giants SABC and Ad Reach Advertising. Additional partners supporting this initiative include Legacy Hotels and Resorts, and the South Africa Rugby Legends Association. The Clicks group has also elected the 'Blow The Whistle' organisation as their preferred beneficiary for their 16 days of activation campaign.
'Blow The Whistle' was officially launched on the 21st of November 2013 at the Cupola Suite, Michelangelo Hotel, Sandton. The immediate media rollout includes all media channels including SABC radio stations, street pole advertising, and digital platforms.
Dorrestein concludes, "Whilst the campaign originated as a Legacy Lifestyle initiative, it is an independent organisation entirely and we look forward to announcing numerous new corporate partners in the near future... everyone is invited to join us. We hope the 'Blow The Whistle' campaign will make a meaningful contribution to South Africa, and protect our most valuable asset... our people."