File photo: INLSA
Fifty men did some introspection on their role in gender-based violence as the diverse group took part in a men-to-men dialogue at the Zolani centre in Nyanga at the weekend.

Organised by human rights organisation Africa Unite, the purpose of the event was to enable men to discuss the reasons behind the issue and provide solutions to tackle it.

Yonela Msongelwa, peer educator at Africa Unite, said: “We wanted to understand the thinking of men around the issue as we know there has been an increase in the number of women that have been killed and beaten by men in particular.

“We played news clips to understand how issues of violence are covered in the media and get a reaction from men. The idea that men are trash; why are we labelled like that? All men agreed it is not the society they want to live in.”

He added that some of the key findings were that issues of unemployment, abuse of alcohol and drugs, culture and religion from the perspective that a man is the provider and then he is unemployed frustrated many men and in turn were contributing factors to gender-based violence.

Participant Wonke Mapeyi said: “We discovered that beside the private part, there was no real differentiation between women and men because everything men do women can also do.

“There should be some forum for men to support men in relation to issues of unemployment and drug abuse,” he added.

Msongelwa said they felt the profile of gender-based violence perpetrators needed to be investigated as well as what factors made incident numbers so high in South Africa.

After the dialogue a group of seven men were selected to champion recommendations made on the day.

They will be going to shebeens to open more dialogues with men.

Next month will then see a dialogue called Women to Women where a group will discuss the same issues, which will culminate in a bigger event called Women to Men where both parties will discuss their findings and come up with the way forward.

More information on the next dialogue can be found on the Africa Unite Facebook page.