Stepping up to fight the scourge of GBV

The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign begins today and runs until December 10. Picture: File

The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign begins today and runs until December 10. Picture: File

Published Nov 25, 2023


With South Africa known to have one of the worst rates of gender-based violence (GBV) in the world, several organisations have mobilised in preparation for the annual 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign, which begins on Saturday. One group devoted to the eradication of gender-based violence is Keready, a youth-led health campaign.

Dr Dineo Sefoloko, who is in charge of Keready mobile clinics in Durban, says the aim is to address the underlying causes of GBV with the goal of raising awareness and implementing interventions for behavioural change to create a safer community for everybody.

“South Africa has one of the highest rates of GBV in the world. Let's unite to halt violence, curb the spread of disease, and eliminate any behaviour that poses harm to ourselves or others. It's crucial to reflect on what truly matters: our health and wellness,” she said.

Keready uses community events and social media campaigns to help fight GBV, as well as providing direct support to GBV victims.

With its 46 mobile clinics, operated by teams of nurses and other staff and led by 10 young doctors, the campaign engages in educational initiatives designed to equip young minds with the knowledge and awareness necessary to identify, prevent, and combat gender-based violence.

“We wish to get to the root causes of GBV,” said Dr James Menyah-Artivor, who oversees mobile clinics in Gauteng. “By being in the communities with our mobile clinics every day, we are often the first point of contact to come across these cases, and we want to play an important role in referring people.”

Craig Wilkinson, the founder and CEO of Father A Nation, a non-profit company that works to encourage positive masculinity, will also host hundreds of men at dynamic GBV workshops in hotspots around Gauteng and the Western Cape.

Unlike the traditional narrative focusing solely on women and victims, Father A Nation aims to eradicate the root causes of GBV, crime, and fatherlessness.

The organisation believes that “no boy is born an abuser: GBV can be eradicated before it starts”.

“Our philosophy at Father A Nation is that if we can heal men, we can heal the world. We focus on working with men to become excellent fathers, mentors, role models, and just good men. The solution to GBV is to stop it in its tracks. Men are the primary perpetrators of physical and sexual GBV. While it’s critical to create awareness and support victims, ideally, we don't want victims at all, and the way to stop that happening is to stop wounded men from being abusive,” said Wilkinson.

He further said he often hears stories of how the organisation has helped change people for the better.

“In one case, a man told us he had planned to kill his wife and children before killing himself. We hear from men who say they were abusers but didn't know this until they attended a session with us. We have met many women who thank us for teaching their partners to be better men.”

The Salvation Army has added its support to a multi-faith campaign to bring an end to GBV.

It is said the campaign, “Faith action to end gender violence”, hoped to forge a path to address this national crisis in a country that had the highest incidence of rape of any country that was not at war.

Saturday Star

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