Men must stand up to violence against women and children

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Pretoria – Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Susan Shabangu, has called on men and interfaith organisations to take a stand and be counted in the fight against violence targeting women and children.

Briefing the media ahead of her department’s Budget Vote debate in Parliament on Wednesday, Minister Shabangu said violence against women isn’t confined to one sector of society, but cuts across various communities.

She said the department has been engaging at various levels, through national dialogues, with communities on how to address the scourge of violence against women.

“We decided that we are not going to address violence against women and children only during the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children, but we are going to make it a 365 days, hence we talk about #CountMeIn, where we mobilise society, including men.

“We believe that we are on the right path and for now, society accepts that you can’t address issues of violence against women only (without) …men.”

She said men need to be included in the fight and contribute to changing attitudes and behaviour in a way that takes the country forward.

The Minister said the department alone cannot stop the scourge, but everyone needed to be involved.

“It’s not only the department. It takes government, it takes communities, and it takes everybody. For us, if we are going to focus on government alone, we would be making a mistake. We have various partnerships. We are involved with churches in trying to address the scourge of violence because it’s something which government can’t do alone.

“We have various laws intended to address that, but it’s not enough. We need to mobilise warm bodies. We need to look at changing attitudes, both men and women and also bring respect for both men and women in making sure that we are able to deal with this particular scourge in our society,” said Minister Shabangu.

She said getting involved with the communities is not an event but a process, and that government is also dealing with these issues within a particular context.

“We’ve seen communities and various organisations rising and making … their voices heard, and I believe that we are at the right time and in the right space, where everybody is in touch and believes that they have to contribute to [breaking this scourge]." – SAnews.gov.za

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