Violence against women
As we marked the campaign of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children between 25 November and 10 December, almost everybody could relate to varying descriptions of abusers and domestic violence.
In a heterosexual relationship, an abusive man will often point out the woman’s shortcomings in front of family and friends. In fact, an abuser is likely to treat all women in his family disrespectfully.
Men who batter, by and large, are obsessive and jealous. It is about controlling your partner, telling them what to say, who they can talk to and when they need to be home.
Domestic violence comes in the form of physical, sexual, emotional and economic abuse. It does not discriminate based on gender, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical ability or socio economic status.
Children are also adversely affected when they witness and experience violence in their homes. Fear of retribution and feelings of guilt and self-blame often prevent vic- tims from seeking help or leaving the relationship.
It is a pity that there are families in our communities which have to make the difficult choice every day, about whether to remain in an unsafe home or to be homeless. I know I don’t want to live in a community and province where this is tolerated.
If we are truly committed to ending this social scourge, we must translate our knowledge into action by enhancing victim services and holding batterers accountable for their crimes.
On the prevention of domestic violence the focus must be on men because it is men who teach other men and boys how to be men in ways that do not involve abusing and degrading women.
Men have to confront themselves about the part they play in contributing to the psyche of a society that continues to devalue women and children. They can start by challenging themselves towards their own behaviours and attitudes about power and control, and by showing abusers their disdain to abusive behaviours.
We should all be united by the objective of building safer communities for women and children and we can change our culture and attitude about gender violence and domestic abuse.
How? It requires all of us - men, women and children - to believe that WE have the responsibility to change our culture. It’s not just the perpetrators or “THEM” that have to change. It is us.
We must believe that a community free of all gender violence and abuse is not only possible but that we can make it happen here.
A home should be a safe and nurturing place. Violence against women undermines our value system and destroys the spirit, particularly for children who witness it and are helpless to stop it.
Abusive men should not have that behaviour excused or ignored, and tolerance for abusive behaviour needs to be lowered to zero. • Phumulo Masualle is Premier
of the Eastern Cape.
Members of the Christian Fellowship group from Shaw Memorial Church, Circuit 201, recently gave a helping hand to aged community members. They made a visit to Huis Diaz for the aged and ailing in Alexandria where a member of the Christian Fellowship group, Bhelekazi Nyanda, who is recovering from a long illness celebrated her birthday. They shared with her prayers and songs which she enjoys. The group donated fresh vegetables to the home.