South Africa men join the fight against Gender-Based Violence

Twitter user Martha Puth posted this image with the caption, "#TotalShutDown March against gender based violence . Photo: Twitter user Martha Puth

Johannesbourg, South Africa (ADV) – MenEngage Africa Alliance has said the possibility of ending gender-based violence (GBV) and ensuring the safety of women and girls, is achievable as the group’s all 22 MenEngage Africa Alliance country networks is set to host and participate in various activities to observe the commemoration of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children.

The event scheduled for between November 25th and December 10th, is aimed encouraging all governments, institutions, communities, societies and individuals to priorities ending the gender-based violence scourge facing South Africa.

The group is a formation of 22 country networks that work, to challenge men’s and women’s attitudes and expectations about gender roles as a crucial step to achieving gender equality in Africa.

“If there is one important lesson that we have learned from these campaigns, it is that NOT speaking up against gender-based violence is not an option if we are to ensure that gender-based violence is uprooted from our families, communities and societies,” said Desmond Lunga, the chairperson of MenEngage Africa Alliance.

“This should be topmost in our minds as the world prepares to mark the annual 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children. Women and girls are mostly affected by it, and globally at least one third of all women have been exposed to violence in an intimate relationship, but men and boys can also be subjected to GBV- regardless, the violence is linked to gender inequalities and gender norms.”

GBV is commonly defined as any harm or suffering that is perpetrated against a woman or girl, man or boy that has a negative impact on their physical, sexual or psychological health, development or identity.

It has a wide range of expressions of violence such as intimate partner violence, sexual violence by non-partners, female genital mutilation, honour violence, early or forced marriage of children, violence against LGBTIQ people and trafficking in human beings. In situations of war and conflict, sexual and gender-based violence is particularly prevalent.

In South Africa, the #TheTotalShutDown movement marched on the 1st of August – a strategically significant move as August is the month in which National Women’s Day falls and the entire period is observed as Women’s Month to highlight the struggles, wins and legacies of women.

The campaign culminated in the first ever national Summit on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, which was convened by the country’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, and had women’s rights groups and civil society organisations participating at the beginning of November. The Summit was one of key demands of the #TheTotalShutDown campaign when women in all their diversities presented a letter of their concerns to President Ramaphosa back on the 1st of August during a march to his office in Pretoria.

According to MenEngage Africa Alliance the cause of this violence is founded in power imbalances rooted in patriarchy, gender-based inequalities and discrimination.

© Bur-csa – A.H – Oumaima Mourtada / From our regional correspondent Mkhululi Chimoio – African Daily Voice (ADV) – Follow us on Twitter : @ADVinfo_eng