Vi­o­lence against women

Grocott's Mail - - SOUL FOOD -

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.

Pho­tos: Supplied

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.

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