DURBAN - Liquor traders in KwaZulu-Natal have decided to lead from the front in confronting gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide through a series of facilitated dialogues they are hosting in KwaMashu, Inanda and uMlazi this week.
The series started in KwaMashu and Inanda on Tuesday.
The Tavern Dialogues are facilitated by subject matter experts and are designed to educate and equip men to drive positive change in their communities.
In a relaxed and familiar social setting, men are invited to open up about their experiences and views, particularly about what constitutes gender-based violence and how to address it.
The initiative is a partnership between Distell and the National Liquor Traders, focusing on GBV hotspots that are identified using official police statistics. Further dialogues will be hosted in uMlazi on Wednesday.
When Police Minister Bheki Cele released the quarter two crime statistics 2021/2022, he said 9 556 people were raped between July and September 2021.
He said it was an increase of 634 cases, amounting to a 7.1% increase compared to the previous reporting period.
He also said a sample of 6 144 rape cases revealed that 3 951 of the rape incidents took place at the home of the victim or the home of the rapist, while liquor and drugs were involved in 1 383 of the rape cases.
Cele said 400 rape cases were domestic violence-related.
The dialogues come after a 10km Walk Against GBV held in uMlazi on Monday in collaboration with the non-profit organisation, Act Now, the SAPS, Distell and the KwaZulu-Natal Liquor Authority, attended by Police Minister Bheki Cele.
National Liquor Traders convenor Lucky Ntimane said: “Taverns are social and economic hubs of township communities and have an important role to play in upholding community values and promoting responsible drinking.”
“This includes taking the lead in eliminating gender-based violence and femicide. Our taverns must be safe spaces for positive social interaction, and this is why we wanted to take this initiative. With the litany of reports of women and children being hurt and killed by men, it is time for men to take a stand and lead in the fight against GBV and femicide.”
Act Now spokesperson Palesa Mashego said GBV and femicide (GBVF) perpetuates trauma across generations, resulting in broken homes, shattered lives and the destruction of human potential.
“GBVF is a multifaceted issue that can be traced back to prevailing attitudes toward women, gender inequality, and feelings of hopelessness and loss of power, among others. For men who have a predisposition for violence, often having been abused themselves, problem drinking can be an aggravating factor,” Mashego said.
“The fact that tavern owners are willing to support these engagements shows real commitment.”
Mashego said it was very encouraging that the initiative enjoys the support of provincial government structures and the police.
“We will achieve a much greater impact by working together to eradicate this scourge in our society. Targeted interventions that focus on high-risk groups are the most effective way to achieve positive change,” Mashego said.