Gender-based violence incidents prove we need to reconsider how we groom young boys, says the writer. Picture: Pexels
Gender-based violence incidents prove we need to reconsider how we groom young boys, says the writer. Picture: Pexels

OPINION: Gender-based violence cases prove we need to reconsider how we groom young boys

By Ofentse Morwane Time of article published May 24, 2020

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The world of imagination provides expanse for fantasies. For some women that is where can they hallucinate candidly about romantic relationships in which they enjoy protection from their partners.

Where love is shared fervently in a true sense. Agape love. After all, the world of imagination is not selfish.

Descend to the real world. Most men seem to have re-defined the game of love. President Cyril Ramaphosa reminded us about this grim reality last week while outlining on television government’s risk-adjusted strategy to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The men of our country, he said, have declared war on the women. How sad. A serious indictment on the men of our land.

Not even the nationwide lockdown can make us escape this reality.

Something has gone ghastly wrong in this country. A lot of variables are at play. Alcohol abuse, gender inequalities and the patriarchal society we live in. Parenting also needs to be under careful scrutiny. The way we groom young boys and men needs complete reconsideration.

It’s unfathomable that in a country that is grappling with serious socio-economic conditions, government is forced to allocate a considerable amount from its coffers to the various interventions aimed to fight the scourge of gender-based violence

The Crimes Against Women in South Africa Report by Statistics SA shows that femicide is five times higher than the global average.

There are various government and civil-society interventions countrywide and within Gauteng province to support victims of gender-based violence. Key to this is to accommodate survivors and provision of victim empowerment services.

Ikhaya Lethemba, a provincial one-stop victim-empowerment centre run by the Gauteng Department of Community Safety, is one such intervention to ensure a range of professional support services for victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Victims are accommodated with their children; services include short- and long-term adult and children counselling and therapeutic services. Importantly, accommodating them also assists in minimising or the elimination of secondary victimisation.

Ikhaya Lethemba and the other many shelters for survivors of gender-based violence lay bare the intricacies of the scourge of gender-based violence and modern-day relationships. They tell the disconcerting stories of women whose dreams have been shattered at the hands of their partners.

Sad stories that send a chill down one’s spine, particularly if you had an opportunity to interact with some of the victims in person like myself. Thousands of women, some with their children, are accommodated in these shelters because they cannot live with their abusive partners.

For some who are accommodated in shelters such as Ikhaya Lethemba, this provides hope that justice will one day be served as they also get legal assistance from professionals in preparation for court cases where they are going to face their abusive spouses or partners.

Until there is a renewed commitment by men to mend their ways and start treating women with respect, for some women the notion of being truly loved and enjoying adequate protection from a partner will only exist in their imaginary world. And the justification of men as trash may live to see another day.

Morwane is the director, corporate communications: Gauteng Department of Community Safety

Sunday Independent

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