Emerging evidence from South Africa suggests that young women (16-23 years old) who have partners that are three or more years older than them are 1.5 times more likely to experience violence and 1.6 times more likely to be HIV-positive than women of the same age whose partners are in their peer group (UNAIDS and WHO).
The University of Johannesburg (UJ) collaborated with the Eliminating Domestic Violence (EDV) Global Foundation in the launch of their new Youth Council project which will provide young people with a platform for social action in their communities
The new Youth Council members were sworn into office on Friday, 5 August 2016 at the Auckland Park Campus. This council has the mandate to educate the youth about safe zones and provide tools on how to prevent domestic violence, also referred to as gender-based violence.
EDV Youth Council (EDV YC) Committee members were interviewed and selected from the many applications received after the invitation was widely publicised on UJ media platforms since the end of June 2016. The committee consists of University students and is led by Ms Jamima Lovatt (Gender-based violence prevention activist and leader). EDV YC enables young people aged 18-25 to work for the elimination of domestic violence, where interpersonal violence is the leading cause of death among adolescents and young people worldwide.
“The mission of the EDV YC is to empower young people to raise awareness of issues surrounding domestic violence and to encourage young people, along with victims of domestic violence, to speak out about such behaviour, says Ms Lovatt.
The EDV YC facilitates youth-led campaigns on how to recognise domestic violence and how victims can seek help, equipping YC members with excellent interpersonal, team working and other soft skills in finding solutions to these difficult and sensitive issues. The EDV YC has members in more than 30 universities in the UK, including Oxford, Cambridge, University of London, Bristol, and so forth. The establishment of the UJ EDV YC will include UJ students in the global conversation among youth across the world. Ms Jemima Lovatt will be accompanying Baroness Scotland QS, the secretary-general of the UK to the United Nations in September and will be extending the network to Harvard and Stanford Universities in USA, and to University of Ottowa, in Canada.
“As EDV YC, we are grateful to the University of Johannesburg for their ongoing support and interest; the University is a leader in supporting global youth-led initiatives that bring benefit to students and young people worldwide,” explained Lovatt.
Added Dr Corne Davis, UJ Senior Lecturer: Faculty of Humanities: “The YC members were inspired to be the change in their communities, to speak out against domestic violence and to collaborate with students across the globe in creating definitive solutions.”
UJ has committed to develop programs that will address gender-based violence, to share best practices and to engage other universities to take up this cause.
The Inauguration was attended by all EDV YC new members and distinguished personalities working to see domestic violence eliminated and promoting equal opportunities for youth in South Africa.
The YC intends to build on its relationship with the University and to engage on campaigns that will focus on research into domestic violence. EDV Global Foundation has influenced an array of political leaders, governments and organisations to engage in research and develop policies against domestic violence.
Leadership of the Youth Council
Appointments to the 2016- 2017 Youth Council Executive Office include:
President: Tamia Playandi
Vice President of Marketing and Communications: Lesedi Diseko
Vice President of Research: Lerato Mofokeng
Outreach Officer: Kensani Mbalathi
Secretary: Buyisiwe Mkhonza
Schools officers: Masego Bopalamo & Sumaiyah Patel
Fundaising Officers: Onkgopotse Masalesa & Andrew Mphela
Events officer: Palesa Molefe