Following the tragic death of Meghan Cremer in 2019, close friend Lize Hartley was inspired to do what she can to save other young women from a similar fate. Partnering with the Justice Desk, Lize has launched a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy to educate and protect young girls as we celebrate Women’s Month in South Africa.
Lize and Meghan, a vibrant show jumper and bakery manager from Cape Town, met in 2016 and quickly bonded over their love of riding and horses. As their horses were stable neighbours on the property where Meghan lived, spending time together became a routine and the young women developed a meaningful friendship.
“Meghan was a wonderful friend, businesswoman and animal-lover. I miss her warm and generous personality and her quick, dry sense of humour. She was the type of person who was always willing to help,” says Lize.
On August 3, 2019 Meghan went missing from her home and fell victim to a robbery. Five days later, police found her body buried in a Philippi sand mine. Her death left a void for many of her friends and family, who struggled to come to terms with it.
“For weeks and weeks after her death, whenever I parked outside her cottage, on the same property we kept our horses, I would look for her. And every time I would need to remind myself that she wasn’t there; it took a long time before that sunk in,” says Lize
Cremer’s death is one of many that has gripped the nation. The South African Police Service estimates that a woman is murdered every three hours in South Africa. According to population-based surveys, the country has recorded incredibly high levels of intimate partner violence (IPV) and non-partner sexual violence (SV) in particular. The majority of victims are women and children, and the majority of perpetrators are men.
“It is painful to speak about gender-based violence, but it is important that we speak up at every opportunity and continue to fight this fight. If I can improve one woman’s life, if I can help prevent anyone from the pain we all experienced when we lost Meghan, that will be enough. There is a mother, daughter, sister and friend behind every statistic,” says Lize.
This Women’s Month and a year after Cremer’s death, Hartley has partnered with award-winning human Rights Organisation Justice Desk to launch a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to educate and protect young girls.
Through the BackaBuddy campaign, Lize hopes to raise R60 000 to support the Justice Desk and their Mbokodo Club by covering the cost for 30 young women to benefit from the project that focuses on female empowerment, leadership, and teaches self-defence to survivors of gender-based violence. Thus far, they have raised R 10 295.87.
“I have seen young girls in our projects who have survived unimaginable trauma be the first to raise their hand and speak up because all they want to do is make sure no other girl experiences what she experienced. Our Mbokodo Club trains and empowers young girls to be incredible change-makers, standing up to GBV, and supporting one another as we change this country for the better!” says Jessica Dewhurst, Justice Desk CEO.
Members of the public are urged to donate towards the cause, and even launch their own crowdfunding initiatives to support the Justice Desk and their mandate to support vulnerable women.
“This September, Meghan would have turned 30 years old. I hope that with my BackaBuddy campaign, we can celebrate the wonderful and meaningful life she lead by protecting other young women in her honour,” explains Lize.
To make a donation to support this cause, visit the BackaBuddy page HERE.