Home South Africa The President calls for an open dialogue on combating GBV

The President calls for an open dialogue on combating GBV

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on men to have an open dialogue about their responsibilities towards women and toxic masculinity.

“The whole society must be mobilized to organize these men’s dialogues. Every day, various organizations allocate resources for public events, conferences and seminars on various pressing social, economic and political issues of our time. These are the forums where that engagement needs to happen,” President Ramaphosa said in his weekly newsletter, which was written as South Africa observes the 16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women and Children campaign.

The President urged the government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector to support such dialogue in every workplace, place of worship, school, college and university and in every community.

“[GBV affects] all aspects of our society, including health and well-being, safety and security, and economic growth and productivity.

“In these dialogues we must examine our understanding of sexual consent. We must challenge the myth that rape is only rape if it involves a stranger or if the victim responded by screaming for help, fighting back or reporting it immediately to the police,” President Ramaphosa said.

By bringing together men of all races, classes and generations to talk candidly about their understanding of masculinity, the president said more light can be shed on assumptions and practices many people consider “normal” that are actually harmful to women and children.

“We have to change the beliefs that men are strong and women are weak, that men should be in charge, or that men can do whatever they want to women. Men need to understand that they can and should express their pain and frustration without harming others.

“As the President, I am ready to participate in men’s dialogues. I urge ministers, prime ministers, religious, political and community leaders, athletes, entertainers, celebrities and business people to do the same.

“The men of South Africa owe it to the women and children of this country to take up the fight against gender-based violence. These men’s dialogues can be a platform for men to challenge each other to become better men, to be more responsible, understanding and caring,” President Ramaphosa said.

President Ramaphosa said the focus should be on preventing men and boys from becoming abusers.

“Men are the perpetrators of gender-based violence and therefore it is men who must change,” President Ramaphosa said.

President Ramaphosa said that men, as husbands and partners, fathers, colleagues, peers and classmates, should reflect on their attitudes towards women and girls. – SAnews.gov.za

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