Photo: LUCA SOLA / AFP
Photo: LUCA SOLA / AFP
President Cyril Ramaphosa has sent a stern message to the tens of millions of men in South Africa, asking them to ‘do better’ when it comes to gender-based violence (GBV).
The head of state used his weekly message to the nation to reflect on some fairly gruesome crime stats, released last week by SAPS. The data shows that rape cases spiked by 7% in the previous quarter, as almost 10 000 women reported being attacked in a sexual context. Ramaphosa has since branded these figures as ‘shameful’.
Clearly, the issue has dwelled on his mind. Ramaphosa rallied against the men who perpetrate those crimes, and also had a few unkind words for the friends and colleagues who turn a blind eye to such behaviours. He has laid the gauntlet down for male South Africans, telling them to be more proactive in preventing acts of GBV.
“GBV is a problem of male violence. It is predominantly men who are rapists. It is mainly men who are perpetrators of domestic violence. Because it is men who are the main perpetrators, it should be men taking the lead in speaking out and reporting gender-based violence, in raising awareness, in peer education, and in prevention efforts.”
“It should be men in positions of authority in our educational system, whether as school principals, educators or lecturers, who should be making schools and places of higher learning safe spaces for female learners and students, and never, ever abusing their position of authority to demand sexual favours.”Cyril Ramaphosa
Cyril didn’t stop there. He wants men to become better role models for the youth of South Africa, and even suggested that blokes should form pacts with each other, swearing to never engage in GBV. However, perhaps his boldest idea was that he wants to ‘redefine’ the meaning of masculinity in Mzansi, to help foster more ’empathy and respect’.
“Men should also be playing a more formative and present role in their families, particularly in raising their sons to exhibit healthy, positive masculinity that is respectful of women and children. Communities must work with government to implement interventions that redefine masculinity so that we raise men with empathy, tolerance and respect.”
“Men must respect their partners and understand that being in an intimate relationship is never a justification for domestic violence. If each man gathers two men and the three pledge to never rape a woman, never lay a hand on a woman and hold each other accountable, we can start to seriously tackle gender-based violence in our country.”Cyril Ramaphosa