1000 Women Trust, Avon partner to create awareness about verbal abuse in SA

PRESS RELEASE ON BEHALF OF 1000 WOMEN TRUST: 8TH DECEMBER 2021

CAPE TOWN. – The women-led organization 1000 Women Trust has partnered with the global beauty company Avon to create awareness about “love bombing”, “gaslighting” and all other forms of verbal and emotional abuse.

Research by Avon reveals that one in five women globally are consistently subjected to verbal abuse by an intimate partner, while 60 % of women between the ages of 45 and 54 in South Africa are experiencing the highest signs of verbal abuse in their relationship.

Avon said verbal abuse refers to the ways in which a person uses their words to cause harm. It is one tactic in a range of deliberate behaviors that a person may use to gain and maintain power and control over another in an intimate relationship.

Verbal abuse is one aspect of psychological abuse, also referred to as emotional abuse or expressive aggression. It is characterized by insults, name-calling, put-downs, criticizing, and other demeaning language designed to bully, intimidate, frighten, humiliate, degrade and diminish the victim’s self-worth and sense of safety.

Tina Thiart, the trustee of 1000 Women Trust, said that according to the research done by 1000 Women GBV facilitators 80% of Women did not report GBV, and the reason was they had NO SCAR to show!  Women did not report Verbal Abuse in our Communities.  We encourage Women to report all forms of GBV and we endeavor to create awareness of various forms of abuse, including financial abuse.

There are several forms of verbal and emotional abuse, like “negging”, love bombing, gaslighting, and emotional blackmail, which have a destructive impact on women in South Africa.

Love bombing is a manipulation tactic that happens when someone overwhelms you with affection, adoration, gifts, and love in order to gain control of your behavior.

It includes lavishing you with gifts and giving you constant praise and adoration. They also want to be in constant communication with you but get upset when you implement boundaries.

Another extreme form of abuse is called gaslighting – manipulating someone psychologically until they question their own sanity.

Negging is when a person tries to manipulate you into feeling bad about yourself.

One is a backhanded compliment. An example of this is somebody that says: “Well, don’t you look fabulous. I would never be brave enough to wear my hair like that with your face shape.”

They compare you to other people, like saying: “Your sister is in such great shape. You should take a cue from her and start working out.”

Another form of negging is to insult you under the guise of constructive criticism.

They disguise insults as questions: “Don’t take this the wrong way, but are you really going to eat that all by yourself.”

Emotional blackmail is a dysfunctional form of manipulation that people use to place demands and threaten victims to get what they want. The undertone of emotional blackmail is if you don’t do what I want when I want it you will suffer.

Mafahle Mareletse, managing director of Avon Turkey, Middle East, and Africa, says: “Verbal abuse has far-reaching implications as the scars of this ill-treatment are invisible, yet the victims go through a harrowing and traumatic experience that is belittling and demeaning.

“Those who are at the receiving end of verbal abuse often feel alone and helpless. Perpetrators of verbal abuse often escalate their ill-treatment of their victims by inflicting physical harm, and in some cases, even killing their victims.

“Through this campaign, we plan to leverage the power of our platforms, our relationships, and our footprint to create a world that is friendly and safe for the most vulnerable members of our society and to foster a world that is free from any form of abuse.”

“All this abuse has enormous psychological effects like fear, anxiety, depression, stress, sleep or eating problems and even alcohol and drug abuse, suicide and self-harm,” said Thiart.

“These forms of abuse make it impossible for South Africa to achieve gender equality by eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls,” said Thiart.

“In South Africa’s quest for economic growth after the COVID-19 pandemic, we might lose sight of the disastrous impact of gender-based violence. Using a conservative estimate, gender-based violence can cost South Africa between R28.4 and R42.4 billion per year – or between 0.9 and 1.3 % of GDP annually,” said Thiart.

According to research by Avon, nearly two in five women aged 25 to 34 globally are experiencing potential signs of verbal abuse within their relationship. Over a third (36 %) of women around the world have insecurities about their self-worth based on negative comments made by partners.

1000 Women Trust is a women’s organization that aims to raise awareness around gender-based violence, rape, and abuse. The Trust provides Community Groups with skills and knowledge to support survivors of gender-based violence. We ask Women to Report, not to protect perpetrators, if you see something SAY something.

Over the past fifteen years, Avon has contributed 80 million dollars (more than R1.2 billion) to causes ending violence against women and girls and helped 14.2 million women through their donations to NGOs globally.

Nkgokeng Phetla, internal communications and CSI specialist of Avon South Africa, said Avon Justine invites South Africans to sign their pledge to say no more to this far-reaching form of abuse and its devastating and long-lasting impact.

Together, South Africans can create a world of mutual respect and help to end verbal abuse and domestic violence. To sign the pledge, go to https://www.nomoreverbalabuse.org/take-action and take the pledge today. We say #Speakout#NoMoreVerbalAbuse.

For more information please visit www.1000women.co.za or contact Tina Thiart on 0732079079