Dear Men, Here Is Why Gender-based Violence Is Your Issue

If not all men are trash, why are the good guys so silent on violence against women? Here is why this issue needs you guys at the forefront.

22/12/2017 11:42 SAST | Updated 22/12/2017 11:42 SAST

Says feminist writer, Busang Senne: "It is time for men to take ownership in how they help end gender-based violence. It starts with contributing to shifting attitudes and behaviours away from rape culture and the sexism and misogyny inherent in our society."

At this time of the year, we see the spotlight shone on activism against women and children. It happens every year, yet the remains: would these campaigns not be more effective if there were enough men speaking out and taking action against gender-based violence?

Here we examine why it's important that we see more men take action around GBV.

Comedian and owner of The Cape Town Comedy club, Kurt Schoonraad recently appealed to men not to look away and to stand up against the scourge of violence and abuse. In an interview with Koketso Sachane on Cape Talk, he said: "Because it is mainly men who are the perpetrators of abuse and violence against women and children, as men we have a certain responsibility that we must take. We cannot sit back and deny this huge issue. We all need to look at this problem in a holistic manner and by getting to the root of the problem. Like the fact that a lot of the perpetrators were themselves victims are violence."

Schoonraad added: "We need to get to a point where men are able to put up their hands and admit that they have a problem. Traditionally we have always had systems in place where elders were able to share advice with young men. It is difficult to be a man if you don't understand what it is to be a man."

Statistics released in the Sonke Gender Justice annual report (2016-2017) showed that one in three women in South Africa was a victim of domestic violence and that every eight hours a woman is killed by her intimate partner.

"Patriarchy is what has been instilled in a lot of men, commoditising women and making them come across as objects that can be used in the kitchen and the bedroom. We should not be telling girls to be dressing differently, we should teach young boys that women bodies are not their right." Themba Masango, Co-Founder, Not In My Name movement.

Echoing Masango, Commissioner at the Commission for Gender Equality, Mbuyiselo Botha added: "We have a responsibility to ensure that we have a language of equality and deconstruct our upbringing of the idea that men have to lord over women. We need to support women in their quest for a country that is free of gender violence."

Throughout the year the Commission for Gender Equality has law clinics nationwide that provide free legal services to victims of abuse. There is also psychological education provided to survivors of and perpetrators of abuse.

In his seminal Ted Talk, Jackson Katz outlines why it is problematic that topics like sexual assault and domestic violence have been framed as issues that only women should deal with. He insists that 'these issues are men's issues first and foremost', emphasising why it's so important for men to get involved alongside women in curbing gender-based violence. Question is: Are you that guy?

Join the movement taking action towards a world free of all forms of gender-based violence and women abuse. Visit / or follow #strideforgood on social media.