Gender-based violence and all it stands for is the talk of the town right now, and the stuff nightmares are made of. For everyone.

It is the bane of society and, like most crimes, cuts across social, economic standing, climbs over the high walls of leafy suburbs and stalks the streets of impoverished communities alike.

Gender-based violence as the scourge on mainly women and children, and has come to be accepted as including males since there have been growing reports of incidents where they too are targets of beatings and killings and emotional and other attacks.

Men in their homes previously hid how they lived, scared of either being hit, having their finances depleted or being emotionally abused.

In fact, it was taboo to have a man talk about it, almost as much as the stigma associated with men crying. Men were raised to believe they are these strong untouchable creatures who stand tall and firm in the face of adversity.

This has created, as many believe, monsters who bottle up their emotions and then, if there is no appropriate outlet, let rip at the most inopportune times, perpetuating the violent nature associated with men, and, more often than not, leading us back to the struggle with gender-based violence - abusing women and defenceless children. There the vicious cycle that is abuse continues, with women and children being the main victims.

Now, I have a partner who would not hurt a fly, not if it sat on his nose and blocked his view. And for that I thank God. He talks often of an era in his upbringing where his dad was violent and they as children watched their mother cower in fear as he unleashed his anger on her. That was for a short period between companies closing down as apartheid was overcome and him finding his place in church, and therefore peace.

He vowed never to hurt anyone over who he has power, and forever begs me not to raise my voice or punish the children too hard whenever I intend to.

In other homes, men who abuse claim to have been victims or watched it closely, and psychologists say this can have an effect if not dealt with. They say subconsciously, abused boys - directly or indirectly - by watching either their mothers or siblings, take on the role of an abuser, even if they do not intend to. So I can say I am lucky in that sense.

Then there are psychopaths - people suffering from chronic mental disorders with abnormal or violent social behaviour, who require no previous or close contact to feel the need to be violent. These people are also perpetrators of gender based violence as they target people weaker than them and abuse them and, if they can, abuse those seemingly stronger if they get the chance, as is the challenge of their mental state.

The biggest question now is: of the two I am raising, how will they turn out? Does either of them have an underlying mental disorder not yet spotted, or overlooked since we don't know all the signs? Could one of them become a monster later in life and prey on men and women and children?

Is there anything more than what I teach them - that violence is not right but that when backed into a corner one must fight one's way out rather than die, what I or society should do to make sure they do not become abusive adults?

And, please, do not get me started on the worry they could become victims themselves, in a world of ever-growing sexual, physical and emotional abuse, which, more often than we are wanting to accept, leads to deaths.

I pray for normal grown-ups every day.

* Ntando Mkhubu is the news editor at Pretoria News