Category: 16 Days of Activism

Garden Route men attend 1st Men’s Parliament in George

The Men’s Parliament was launched and presented by the Deputy Minister of Social Development, Honorable Hendrietta Ipeleng Bogopane-Zulu, in collaboration with the South African National AIDS Council, Takuwani Riime and Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM). The purpose of the assembly was to discuss approaches to behavioural change programmes of the Department of Social Development (DSD) that seek to promote positive outcomes critical to change the course of gender-based violence faced by all South Africans.

Executive Mayor of GRDM, Cllr Memory Booysen (2nd right), together with Speaker of GRDM, Cllr Barend Groenewald and Municipal Manager of GRDM, Mr Monde Stratu, welcomed the Deputy-Minister of DSD, Honorable Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu (middle) and Professor Archbishop Mbulelo Dyasi, Secretary of the Men’s Sector, SANAC (right) to the Garden Route district, before the commencement of the 1st Men’s Parliament assembly.

After Honorable Ipeleng Bogopane-Zulu was warmly welcomed by the Executive Mayor of GRDM, Cllr Memory Booysen, she later joined the men in Conville to officially launch the assembly, which will now be a quarterly sitting.

Deputy-Minister of DSD, Honorable Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, during her keynote address at the assembly.

Attendees used the opportunity provided to them, to speak about the issues men are faced with on a daily basis and used the question “What is a man?” as a basis and kick-off point for all related discussions that followed.

These discussions included:

  • the nature of the problem;
  • validation of positive masculinity and the need  for healing;
  • promoting a healthy society;
  • the call from women; and
  • the responses of men – what must be done, economic development – how we are going to build the economy and personal commitment, mobilisation and accountability (from decision, to action, to results, demonstrating the results of our actions, as well as mentorship in raising responsive responsible boys.

During her keynote address, Ms Bogopane-Zulu praised the GRDM Executive Mayor, Cllr Memory Booysen, and Speaker, Cllr Barend Groenewald, as well as the local municipalities in the district for their eagerness to implement the programme. She said: “I know that more men will be included in future male-focused engagements.  This is a long road, but if we continue to work together, the road will get shorter.  We cannot achieve anything if we do not have your support”. Ms Bogopane-Zulu further referred to the recent tragic deaths of women in the district as a result of gender-based violence, specifically in the Mossel Bay area and said:  “It is time that men take full responsibility and accountability, not only for their individual actions, but also for their collective actions”. She added: “Whenever these perpetrators go to court, only the faces of women are visible outside the courts“. She furthermore said: “I want to see men with posters in front of these courts, not only women. She encouraged men to stand firm and say ‘no, this one must not be allowed bail”. She further encouraged all attendees to use their voices with the hope to help Government to implement programmes that will assist men to improve their circumstances and behaviour, to make this country a better country for all.

Portfolio Councillor for Roads and Transport Planning Services at GRDM, Cllr Rowan Spies, spoke about how men must find a way to manage their egos and anger. He emphasised:  “We as men have to find a way to deal with our egos and anger, in order to gain self-respect. Change only happens in the practice of discipline and forgiveness”. He concluded with the following words:  “We are servants at various levels of society and we must all translate it into what we do on a daily basis. We have to deal with our egos and forgiveness,” he added.

The assembly was successfully chaired by the GRDM Speaker Barend Groenewald, who concluded the event with the following words:  “Let us act, to correct, educate and let the perpetrators face the consequences of their own shameful and deliberate actions”.

It is envisaged that the programme will be implemented and extended to the local municipalities in the Garden Route from next year onwards, whereby men structures will be established by the DSD and GRDM, to ensure the progress of the Takuwani Riime project. ‘Takuwani Riime’ is a Venda expression meaning “let Us Stand Up Together”.

Resolutions taken at the event:

 Motions with Notice

 1. Motions on Definition of a man

A man is not simply defined by his physical make-up, A man is a man through his action(s) that reflect good morals, accountability and the affection he brings to his house and community. A man is provider and a protector, nurtured by his character.

 2. Motions on health wellness and socio-economic hardships

We move for the adoption that men need to avail themselves to seek health advice timeously in order to detect and help prevent illnesses. Men need undergo introspection and seek psychosocial services in order to effect social behavioural change practices. Men need to undergo HIV, TB, Prostate Cancer and heart-related health check-ups and take a greater responsibility in looking after their health. Men need to work in conjunction with the government to examine the nature and structural drivers of unemployment for middle-aged men and develop a framework that will remedy unemployment.

 3. Motions on gender-based Violence

We move for the adoption to work towards eradicating and preventing new cases of GBV, femicide, rape and abuse. We as Men of Garden Route bind and commit ourselves to say “No women and Child” should suffer or experience any form of violence in our district, we say “Not in Our Name”.

 4. Motions on District Men’s Parliament 

We move for the adoption to work towards strengthening the implementation of Takuwani Riime and looking at avenues to strengthen the relationship between the Garden Route District Men’s sector, District Municipality, local municipalities and the Department of Social Development. As men of the Garden Route District, we need to mobilize more men in communities, mobilize the business and capacitate existing men’s sector structure. We need to move towards institutionalizing our movement to be absorbed by our district and local municipality through finding synergies and other methods of cooperation. District Men’s Parliaments are to have quarterly sitting to monitor and evaluate implementation efforts, and to aid implementations of Boys Assemblies.

Forms of gender-based violence

There are many different forms of violence, which you can read more about here. All these types of violence can be – and almost always are – gendered in nature, because of how gendered power inequalities are entrenched in our society.

GBV can be physical, sexual, emotional, financial or structural, and can be perpetrated by intimate partners, acquaintances, strangers and institutions. Most acts of interpersonal gender-based violence are committed by men against women, and the man perpetrating the violence is often known by the woman, such as a partner or family member [3].

Violence against women and girls (VAWG)

GBV is disproportionately directed against women and girls [4]. For this reason, you may find that some definitions use GBV and VAWG interchangeably, and in this article, we focus mainly on VAWG.

Violence against LGBTI people

However, it is possible for people of all genders to be subject to GBV. For example, GBV is often experienced by people who are seen as not conforming to their assigned gender roles, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or intersex people.

Intimate partner violence (IPV)

IPV is the most common form of GBV and includes physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and controlling behaviours by a current or former intimate partner or spouse, and can occur in heterosexual or same-sex couples [5].

Domestic violence (DV)

Domestic violence refers to violence which is carried out by partners or family members. As such, DV can include IPV, but also encompasses violence against children or other family members.

Sexual violence (SV)

Sexual violence is “any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work.” [6]

Indirect (structural) violence

Structural violence is “where violence is built into structures, appearing as unequal power relations and, consequently, as unequal opportunities.

Structural violence exists when certain groups, classes, genders or nationalities have privileged access to goods, resources and opportunities over others, and when this unequal advantage is built into the social, political and economic systems that govern their lives.”

Because of the ways in which this violence is built into systems, political and social change is needed over time to identify and address structural violence.

Civil society organisations across the country formed the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence campaign, demanding a fully-costed, evidence-based, multi-sectoral, inclusive and comprehensive NSP to end GBV. [Photo: Alexa Sedgwick, Sonke Gender Justice]

GBV in South Africa

Societies free of GBV do not exist, and South Africa is no exception [7].

Although accurate statistics are difficult to obtain for many reasons (including the fact that most incidents of GBV are not reported [10] ), it is evident South Africa has particularly high rates of GBV, including VAWG and violence against LGBT people.

Population-based surveys show very high levels of intimate partner violence (IPV) and non-partner sexual violence (SV) in particular, with IPV being the most common form of violence against women.

  • Whilst people of all genders perpetrate and experience intimate partner and or sexual violence, men are most often the perpetrators and women and children the victims [7].
  • More than half of all the women murdered (56%) in 2009 were killed by an intimate male partner [8].
  • Between 25% and 40% of South African women have experienced sexual and/or physical IPV in their lifetime [9, 10].
  • Just under 50% of women report having ever experienced emotional or economic abuse at the hands of their intimate partners in their lifetime [10].
  • Prevalence estimates of rape in South Africa range between 12% and 28% of women ever reporting being raped in their lifetime [10-12].
  • Between 28 and 37% of adult men report having raped a women [10, 13].
  • Non-partner SV is particularly common, but reporting to police is very low. One study found that one in 13 women in Gauteng had reported non-partner rape, and only one in 25  rapes had been reported to the police [10].
  • South Africa also faces a high prevalence of gang rape [14].
  • Most men who rape do so for the first time as teenagers and almost all men who ever rape do so by their mid-20s [15].
  • There is limited research into rape targeting women who have sex with women. One study across four Southern African countries, including South Africa, found that 31.1% of women reported having experienced forced sex [16].
  • Male victims of rape are another under-studied group. One survey in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape found that 9.6% of men reported having experienced sexual victimisation by another man [17].

Source: https://www.saferspaces.org.za/understand/entry/gender-based-violence-in-south-africa