Men called to lead fight against abuse

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - BENIDA PHILLIPS STAFF RE­PORTER

THE NORTH­ERN Cape MEC for So­cial De­vel­op­ment, Gift van Staden, has called on men to lead the charge in the fight against gen­der-based vi­o­lence.

Van Staden was talk­ing at the launch of the pro­vin­cial 16 Days of Ac­tivism for No Vi­o­lence Against Women and Chil­dren cam­paign in Carnar­von.

The cam­paign was launched on Sun­day un­der the theme #HearMeToo: End Vi­o­lence Against Women and Chil­dren.

Van Staden called on men to take the lead in the fight against women and child abuse.

“We call on es­pe­cially men to lead the charge in pro­tect­ing our women and chil­dren against these heinous acts. Govern­ment has added its voice and, in a bid to rid our so­ci­ety of this scourge and as an im­me­di­ate in­ter­ven­tion, has es­tab­lished, or­gan­ised and duly elected Men’s Fo­rums in all dis­tricts of our Prov­ince as well as a pro­vin­cial struc­ture. The men of these fo­rums have boldly de­clared that not in their name will vi­o­lence and crime be com­mit­ted,” said Van Staden.

“We will hence­forth deepen our so­cial crime pre­ven­tion ini­tia­tives by tight­en­ing the con­tent of our com­mu­nity mo­bil­i­sa­tion and mes­sag­ing. The pro­vin­cial govern­ment has also im­ple­mented a ‘Thurs­days in Black’ cam­paign where we call on men and women in the Prov­ince to wear black on Thurs­days as a re­sponse to gen­der-based vi­o­lence.

“Those who in­flict vi­o­lence on oth­ers must know they are be­ing iso­lated and can­not count on other men to pro­tect them. From now on, let all men hear the call to as­sume their re­spon­si­bil­ity for solving this prob­lem.”

Van Staden also urged com­mu­nity mem­bers not to look the other way if they wit­ness in­ci­dents of vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren.

“I want to en­cour­age and urge so­ci­ety to ac­knowl­edge that vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren is not a govern­ment or crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem prob­lem, but a so­ci­etal prob­lem, and that fail­ure to view it as such re­sults in all ef­forts fail­ing to erad­i­cate this scourge in our com­mu­ni­ties. We must en­sure mass mo­bil­i­sa­tion of all com­mu­ni­ties to pro­mote col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity in the fight to erad­i­cate vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren.

“We need a re­newal of the mind. This at­ti­tude that we some­times hold in our com­mu­ni­ties that ‘twee mense se goed word nie in gegaan nie’ must come to an end. We must ask our­selves this crit­i­cal ques­tion wher­ever we en­counter this at­ti­tude, is this the day that he is go­ing to kill her? Let us not live with the re­gret of not do­ing some­thing when the op­por­tu­nity arose to avoid the death of an in­no­cent per­son. Let us be proac­tive in deal­ing with this vi­o­lence when we en­counter it.”

Van Staden also pointed out that so­cial ills such as sub­stance abuse are of­ten at the helm of these in­ci­dents.

He ad­vised com­mu­nity mem­bers to ab­stain from sub­stance abuse.

“Many of these crimes also have as their ba­sis al­co­hol and drug abuse. It has been found that there is a stronger re­la­tion­ship be­tween high rates of acute al­co­hol in­tox­i­ca­tion and vi­o­lence than those where drink­ing oc­curs more mod­er­ately. Let not the mis­guided en­thu­si­asm of one’s youth rob one of a fu­ture that is filled with many op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

He added that the erad­i­ca­tion of this scourge re­quires in­put from ev­ery­one in so­ci­ety.

“Let this pe­riod not be about empty rhetoric. We need to ask our­selves the ques­tion, what is it that we can do as com­mu­nity mem­bers, and as men in par­tic­u­lar, in or­der to make our homes and our com­mu­ni­ties safer? We can start by mak­ing our moth­ers, our wives, our sis­ters, our daugh­ters and our neigh­bours aware of leg­is­la­tion that has been put in place to pro­tect those to whom we owe our be­ing.

“I am op­ti­mistic that work­ing to­gether, men and women, side by side, we will cre­ate that so­ci­ety where women can walk freely in the street and chil­dren can play safely out­side with no fear of be­ing at­tacked.

“Let us con­tinue to speak against this scourge and build on the suc­cesses of the last few years,” Van Staden con­cluded.

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