Department ramps up efforts to address gender-based violence

Monday, December 31, 2018

The Department of Women has officially launched the Children’s and Men’s Robots, which are aimed at bringing generational change and ensuring a gender-based violence free society.

The intention of this campaign is to make gender-based violence a household conversation.

“It is only through education and families talking about gender-based violence that this scourge can be beaten at community level,” Minister in the Presidency Responsible for Women Bathabile Dlamini said.

The Department of Women said the Children’s Robot is aimed at conditioning South Africa’s next generation on how to be a good friend, and educate them about the negative impacts of aggressive activities.

The Children’s and Men’s Robots were launched on Sunday.

“As the Department of Women, we feel the timing of this launch is appropriate as there are increased incidents of gender-based violence during the festive period due to increased consumption of alcohol and drugs, as well as increased exposure to risky behaviour,” Dlamini said.

In an effort to reach young men, the Department of Women will also embark on a series of dialogues across South Africa to introduce the Men’s Robot to citizens and civil society organisations.

The dialogues will be convened in partnership with the Departments of Basic Education and Higher Education and Training with the aim of bringing about generational behavioural change.

The department will take the Children’s Robot to schools and it will be used to educate younger audiences on healthy and unhealthy friendships.

This initiative follows the launch of the Women’s Robot by President Cyril Ramaphosa on National Women’s Day.

To date, the Department of Women has empowered thousands of women and girls across South Africa through benchmarking healthy as well as unhealthy relationships.

“The Women’s Robot aims to quickly educate women and girls on tell-tale signs of when a relationship is healthy (green) to when it’s becoming risky (orange) to when women are in danger (red).

“This tool, coupled with countrywide dialogues in communities, allowed the department to train young girls and women on how to identify early signs that a risk of gender-based violence was present,” the department said.

Through consultations with women and men during the 16 Days Campaign, both men and women requested a Men’s Robot which could educate men on how to be a good partner.

“The idea sounds simple but is immensely powerful. So many young boys and men said to us they are constantly bombarded with images of abused women, but they do not know or understand what it means to be a good man.

“The message conveyed to us by so many boys reinforced anecdotal evidence that there were not enough positive role models for boys and young men. The Men’s Robot will be used as an educational tool to socially engineer a generation of healthy relationships, thereby drastically reducing incidents of gender based violence,” Dlamini said. –