Men urged to change

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pretoria - With the scourge of violence against women and children on the rise in the country, men have been challenged to change.

This was the overriding message at the national men’s dialogue against the murder of women and children and gender-based violence, which was hosted by the Department of Justice. Held recently under the theme ‘Change starts with me’, the dialogue looked into the development of a prevention strategy that will assist government in dealing with gender-based violence.

Speaking at the event, the Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, John Jeffery, said researchers on the topic have shown that the issue of gender-based violence is very often social in nature.

It pertains to social issues such as the early socialisation of young boys, while patriarchy and sexism also play an undeniable role.

“Other factors which play a role are poverty and unemployment, which can be detrimental to the self-image of men, with poor self-image then leading men to take out their anger and frustration on women,” said Deputy Minister Jeffery.

Violence against women in South Africa is currently reported using either police reports or victimisation surveys.

Data from the recently released South Africa Demographic and Health Survey 2016 Key Indicator Report, which was compiled by Statistics SA, reveals one in five (21%) women aged 18 and older, who are in relationships, have experienced physical violence by a partner, and 8% had experienced physical violence in the 12 months prior to the survey.

Women, who are divorced or separated, were more likely than other women to have experienced physical violence (40% versus 14% - 31%).

The experience of partner violence varies by province, ranging from 14% in KwaZulu-Natal to a high of 32% in the Eastern Cape.

Further data shows that 6% of women aged 18 years and older have experienced sexual violence by a partner, and 2% experienced such violence over the 12 months before the survey.

Deputy Minister Jeffery said this needs to change.

“We need a very specific focus on what we can do to get men to change their mind set and attitudes. We need to get the message out that women and girls are not the possessions of men.

“We need to get the message out that there is no place for jealousy, possessiveness and violence in a relationship.  We need to make sure that women know where to go for help.” - SAnews.gov.za

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