SouthAfrica.info (Johannesburg)

South Africa: 16 Voices - Blogging Against Abuse

In a bid to raise awareness about the negative impact of abuse and empower young people to tackle the scourge, loveLife - an HIV prevention programme for young South Africans - is running a blog sharing experiences, advice and encouragement to take a stand against abuse.

Afro-Pop star Kelly Khumalo and online marketing guru Khaya Dlanga are among the personalities contributing to the blog, which is running on www.lovelife.org.za throughout the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign.

Writers on loveLife's media team, readers of loveLife's UNCUT magazine and members of the organisation's social media sites are also contributing to the blog, which is linked to loveLife's Nakanjani campaign encouraging young people to "take charge of their destinies".

"On the blog, you can find a range of open, honest pieces including one from Kelly Khumalo, who speaks exclusively to loveLife as part of our 16 Days campaign about her experiences of violence and her turbulent relationship with Jub Jub," loveLife said in a statement.

"Taking a unique angle, Khaya Dlanga puts the spotlight on love, abuse and money. He looks at how men sometimes use money to get sex and how women can be dishonest about their true feelings, pretending to love a guy when all they're really after is his assets and his cash.

"Articles will also feature information and advice in topics ranging from emotional, mental and financial abuse right through to raising sons who don't abuse."

The blog also provides practical tips for people experiencing abuse, as well as information about resources such as loveLife's Youth Line on 0800 121 900 and Plz Cal Me service on 083 323 1023, both offering access to free, confidential telephonic counselling.

Beathur Mgoza Baker, loveLife's head of media, said the blog was "a unique way to highlight the devastation wrought by abuse by giving people the opportunity to share experiences of their own and others' abuse.

"It also serves as an empowerment tool, offering information on where to get help and fostering healing through providing a platform for survivors to express difficult thoughts and feelings," Baker said.

Baker added that loveLife's healthy sexuality and positive lifestyle programmes included modules aimed at giving young South Africans the knowledge, skills and attitudes to stand up to abuse.

"Youth with a good sense of self-esteem tend to value themselves too much to stay in abusive relationships," the organisation says on its website. "By choosing healthy relationships, they lower their risk of contracting HIV as it is easier to demand condom use and stand up to an unfaithful partner."

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