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TEARS Foundation Invites Men To Take A Stand Against GBV

As we still observe 16 Days of Activism under the theme Moving from Awareness to Accountability, the TEARS Foundation is concerned about the increase in violent rapes and murders of women in recent weeks.

The NPO launched its 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence awareness campaign to start an important conversation online and create positive behavior changes towards GBV.

It invited men to stand with women and children and take a pledge against GBV.

“The killing of women is five times higher in South Africa than the global average, with South Africa having the fourth-highest female interpersonal death rate out of the 183 countries listed by the World Health Organisation,” said Mara Glennie, founder and director of the foundation.

“Murder, rape and sexual offences were the contact crimes that showed the highest increase in the three months from July to September 2021, according to the latest quarterly crime statistics.

“DNA testing is in arrears, the SAPS is letting down survivors of gender-based violence, and they are being denied justice.”

GBV is referred to as South Africa’s second pandemic, it spiked during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been severe on women and children, resulting in a loss of income and employment, with women being affected disproportionately.

Earlier this month Statistics South Africa reported that among the live births recorded in 2020, over 33 000 births occurred to mothers aged 17 years and younger, while over 600 children aged 10 – 13 years gave birth.

This means that the country recorded almost 35 000 teenage mothers in 2020. Over 23 000 were recorded in Gauteng.

“Such shocking statistics reflect a need for national introspection and highlight how rape advocacy work requires the inclusion of all society as this pandemic affects all of us, not just women and children,” said Glennie.

“Through the I am a MAN campaign, we encourage men to be aware, accountable, and active. The foundation is reaching out to men, inviting them to consider their behaviour and empowering them with the knowledge to stand with women and children against GBV.

“We are all aware of the country’s violent history, which may have created the prevalence of violence, be it structural or otherwise, that the country is facing currently. As the majority perpetrators of rape and gender-based violence, male intervention is key if we want to put an end to this extreme burden on our society. For us, it’s about women and children, with the support of men.

“Women shouldn’t have to fight the battle against GBV alone and men should be part of the solution.”
As part of the campaign, men will be encouraged to take a pledge online to acknowledge that there is no small act of GBV, to speak up against gender-based violence and sexism and to lead the fight against this scourge.

“We are calling on men to initiate a new beginning; men can change today and stand up against GBV and standing up against GBV starts with acknowledging there is a problem and that every man is part of the solution.

“Recognising that rape, abuse, and other forms of GBV are happening in their community, workplace, school or church, and reporting it, is an important first step a man can take,” said Glennie.
The I am a MAN campaign offers practical, tangible and simple tips to men so that they can take responsibility and create a positive behaviour change towards GBV.

“Male involvement is needed if we are to successfully change the discourse surrounding rape, from one that views rape as solely a female issue. “From a very basic perspective, rape affects men too as it may be their sister, wife or a female colleague who is raped or in some cases men themselves,” said Glennie.

Chiamaka Judith Alum
Author: Chiamaka Judith Alum

Good Governance and Human Right Advocate, Content Editor and Data Analyst

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