MEN IN SOUTH AFRICA, IT'S TIME TO STAND UP
If you've written off South Africa already, I invite you to stop reading here.
If you love our country but recognise that's it's broken, then listen up.
The time for pleading ignorance about femicide and gender-based violence in South Africa is over. If somehow you don't already know, then let me enlighten you: SA has one of the highest rates of sexual violence in the world.
Over a period of two years 51,895 cases were processed by SAPS, and these are just the cases that are reported (thought to be significantly lower than the actual number). About 3,000 women in South Africa were murdered in 2018 - or one every three hours - which is more than five times higher than the global average, according to the World Health Organization.
REMEMBERING THEIR NAMES
Over the course of the last while, a number of disturbing stories have made news headlines – these represent only the tip of the horrifying and traumatic icebergs that threaten women in SA every day. However, we will take a moment to remember the names: Uyinene Mrwetyana, Jesse Hess, Leighandre Jegels, Lynette Volschenk, Meghan Cremer. We are doing this for you and other victims of gender-based violence. We will not forget.
As men, and indeed as people who have a vested interest in the future wellbeing of our friends, family and our country, we need to stand up and show that we are part of the fight to de-normalise sexual violence and intimidation towards women.
We need to Stand Up and demonstrate that we will no longer be complacent in this fight that for too long women have had to battle alone.
WE ARE NOT POWERLESS TO AFFECT CHANGE
We are no longer strangers to the statistics and none of us can plead ignorance - and despite what some may think, we are also not powerless to do something about it. Beyond the choices we make as men on a daily basis, there are also initiatives we can support that can contribute toward changing the attitudes and beliefs so often preceding violent behaviour against women.
So, what am I doing about it?
As a starting point, I'm donating R1000 to Brothers For Life - which is a social and well-being movement aimed at not only mobilising men in SA to take responsibility for their health, but also accountability for their actions.
A significant part of the B4L campaign sees men working with men to affect attitudes towards women. Their approach is two-prong:
1) National level Public Health Communication Campaigns like in the video below:
2) Community and grassroots initiatives that seek to facilitate behaviour change
In no way am I trying to say that this is a panacea toward ending the epidemic we now face as a country. But what I would say is: If your fight against Gender Based Violence ends on Instagram, then how much do you want to see change, really?
My goal with this project is to raise at least R100 000 toward supporting male focused behaviour change campaigns.
If you're sincere about wanting to contribute towards stemming the tide of this scourge in our country - but are at a loss for how to do so - then I'm presenting one potential avenue to make an impact.
Ultimately however, the choice for how you support this cause is dependent on your financial means and circumstance - all I ask is that you recognise that change starts with us.
Guys, it's time to stand up.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke