Dialogue and pledge to end violence

A dialogue with men and boys, followed by a pledge to help eradicate gender-based violence and femicide was hosted by the Southern Suburbs Legal Advice Centre (SSLAC) and the parliamentary constituency office in partnership with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, at Parliamentary Village Hall Pelican Park, in Pelican Park, on Saturday November 30.

The programme coincides with the annual international 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign and was held in response to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for men to take responsibility for their behaviour in society, said Advocate Hishaam Mohamed, parliamentary representative of the parliamentary constituency office (“Office to bring Parliament to the people”, Southern Mail, November 27).

Guest speakers included advocates Owen Kleinhans, Gary Titus and Praise Kambula who spoke about the national campaign against gender-based violence and femicide as well as highlighting the instruments that can be used to fight these.

Mr Titus talked about how to “win the fight” for vulnerable victims who can seek protection by obtaining a protection order or an interdict against intimidation and harassment. Protection was also offered by legislation such as the Children’s Act and Older Persons Act.

Mr Kleinhans shed some light on boys and girls who do not have positive role models. “Boys learn from what’s around them. Maybe the dad is drunk on weekends or when the dad gets paid he first
visits the shebeen and when his wife asks him to buy fish and
chips for supper then he smacks her. The son witnesses this behaviour.”

Ms Kleinhans added that it was a sad reality that many abused women protected their abusive husbands.

When the floor was opened, some of the issues raised were the idea that a husband believed he could do what he liked after paying lobola for his wife, or that when a woman said no, she actually meant yes. Also talking about tradition and cultural norms, Ms Kambula pointed out that it was proble-
matic that many women were brought to believe it was their job to look after the house while men were given the opportunity to be educated.

The meeting also discussed how alcohol contributed to gender-based violence and how men were reluctant to intervene if they witnessed abuse.

In conclusion, Wittebome High principal Raymond Trew said: “We all make mistakes but mistakes make you a better person. We have to choose to improve how we treat others. People will know who you are if you show me your friends. So, be a role model.”

Mr Trew said he worked with different types of children and all he could give them is love – he said his father had been his role

At the end of the event, Mr Mohamed read out the pledge in support of a 365-days campaign to end gender-based violence, which included:

“Commit to building a safer future for our children. Commit to being part of
the change. Say enough is enough.”