Violence against women and children is a complex issue that affects society as a whole. As we come to the end of the 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children, LIZEKA MADUNA asked Durban men what they thought of the campaign.
Mkhululi Mbona, 23, student, Durban
[The 16 days] is a great initiative but my concern is the rest of the year that women and children are being abused. It’s not as if violence against women and children only exists within the 16 days of the year. Physical and emotional abuse against women and children are a great shame that makes me wonder what it means to be a man in a society. Understanding violence cannot be easy especially since there are numerous factors that contribute to it, including a person’s background and upbringing. As men, the best we can do is to teach each other about the importance of shielding women and children.
Themba Mlaba, 28, public relations manager, Pietermaritzburg
Violence against women and children is rife. They are being raped on a daily basis and it doesn’t end there – others are even killed. The way this epidemic has spread is alarming; it boils back to the point that perhaps we are not doing enough to protect them. Communities and church organisations need to come together and try to find ways to prevent violence against women and children. We might not know some people are violent; it is no excuse because whatever issues they have mustn’t be taken out on women or children. The best thing I would do if I came across someone being assaulted would be phoning the police right away.
Cebolenkosi Dlamini, 19, student, Lindelani
I don’t understand what 16 days of activism is all about since women and children are being abused on a daily basis. Why should we celebrate an initiative that only dedicates 16 of 365 days for no violence against women and children? This somehow goes to show that we are failing as a society to protect women and children. A poor and unfair justice system has influenced how men treat women and children because perpetrators are more likely to abuse women or children and get away with it. Another challenge society is faced with is broken families and the failure of parents; children growing up under such circumstances are more likely to become violent.
Oscar Gumede, 28, financial advisor, Durban
The 16 days of activism should remind us of our responsibility as men to protect and nurture women and children. Women are our pillars and children are the future, abusing either of them is a threat to a nation. The sad reality about violence against women and children is that it occurs right in front of our eyes. Violence against women and children is complex, we can’t really mention one issue as a driving factor. There is alcohol and drug abuse, child-headed families and broken families where there is no love. Our role as men is to educate each other socially and professionally about violence and its impact on families and society.
Lifa Sithole, 21, student, Umlazi
Campaigns such as 16 days of activism educate us about the challenges women and children are faced with. We cannot run away from the fact that abuse exists and is prevalent. Communities should try and educate children at an early age about violence, what it is and what the consequences are. Women should also be educated about their rights and strength. Men should come together and fight violence against women and children with every resource they have. Reporting assault or abuse to police when you come across it is tricky, which is why people resort to taking the law into their own hands, which doesn’t solve anything sometimes.