Mayor encourages women during visit

Women with their placards in Klipfontein Road, Athlone.

Women should speak out against abuse in their homes, and men should do more to respect and protect women, mayor Dan Plato said during a visit to Athlone.

On the day of the mayor’s visit, several dozen women with placards stood on Klipfontein Road, calling for an end to violence against women and children.

Speaking to the women from the back of a truck during his visit on Sunday August 16, Mr Plato said: “Every woman deserves to be respected and protected. We call on all men to do better.”

He gave each of the women a sash and a plastic crown.

Athlone ward councillor Rashid Adams said sexual assault and abuse plagued the area, but many women were too afraid or embarrassed to speak up.

Shihaam Cupido, one of the women carrying placards, said she appreciated the visit. “The mayor inspired us and told us how much we are appreciated. He told us to stand up to men and children abusing us and stand together as women to fight against women abuse.”

Raseeqah Watson said: “We didn’t know what to expect, but we all enjoyed ourselves with the music when the bus came. The mayor made us realise that we each have a responsibility towards our neighbours and that we must speak up if we know about anyone being abused in our areas.”

Each woman also received a care pack filled with washing powder, toothpaste, sanitiser, soap and a face cloth as well as a box of chocolates and a packet of chips.