Breaking the Cycle of Abuse
Joint media release: Breaking the Cycle of Abuse
Gender-based violence (GBV) has been plaguing our country for generations. The calls have grown louder for men to play their part in addressing gender-based violence. Through the launch of a media campaign, we’re adding our voices to that call.
To make a difference, we must start addressing the root causes of GBV, which are plenty and complex. Among these, are intergenerational abuse and sustained exposure to violence. This spans race, income bracket, and geographic location.
Gender-based violence is often described as a cycle of abuse, as many men who were abused as children, may become abusive themselves.
The campaign – which will be broadcast on multiple platforms including radio, social media, and television – follows the life cycle of a man who was exposed to violence and abuse throughout his life. Recognising that he’s about to repeat the cycle with his own family, he seeks help.
Premier Alan Winde and provincial GBV lead, Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, launched the campaign with participants of the FAMSA Fatherhood Programme in Khayelitsha last week to correspond with the launch of the media campaign. The programme deals with issues such as parenting, masculinity, gender norms, and anger management.
Premier Alan Winde said, “It is critical for men who have been exposed to violence or were victims themselves in their youth to seek help. Do not be afraid. Put your pride to one side. Speak to a relative, or a friend. Seek professional help by accessing services offered by our Department of Social Development. You are not alone. Speak up and speak out. By opening up about their own trauma, they can end the cycle of abuse and start a cycle of healing, they can become positive role models for other generations of young boys.”
After listening to the radio adverts and watching the video in Khayelitsha, participants shared how the story and characters resonated with them because of their own experiences of either having lived through violence in their own homes or knowing about it happening in their communities.
Xolani Mcoyana, 48, said the video was a mirror to society and emphasized that gender stereotypes must be dismantled. “It is very important for us men to take a stand against gender-based violence. The minute we look the other way, the problem starts.”
He has started men’s groups in his community. “I already see a change. We have broken the stigma of not talking about our feelings. We now talk openly about our common problems.”
Siphesihle Ntuli, 28, said watching the video brought home the sad reality of what happens daily. “We know these things are happening around us. This is not a woman’s fight. As men and peers, we the onlookers must correct each other. There may be backlash, but we have to try,” said Ntuli.
FAMSA facilitator, Chuma Mangxa, said that to bring about change, men needed to address the root causes. He said that boys are taught to not speak about their feelings, to be “strong” and bottle up their emotions, and also not taught how to appropriately manage their anger. He said that gender norms had to be challenged, and that men must be encouraged to speak about their feelings, and how to deal with anger. Importantly, he added that men needed to encourage other men to seek help.
Minister Fernandez said, “We know that generations of men have been socialized to not speak about, and deal with their feelings – including abuse and trauma they may have experienced as children. During our discussion with the participants, it took courage for a lot of men to speak up and say that they had experienced abuse in their lives. But I left the meeting filled with hope, as all of the participants have committed to being gender-based violence ambassadors in their homes, streets, and communities,” said Minister Fernandez.
The Department of Social Development offers programmes aimed at men, which teach participants about their roles and responsibilities in the home, toward their children and partners. The programmes aim to foster positive behaviours and relationship-building within families. Resilient and healthy families are a cornerstone of a stable, safe society.
Counselling services can also be accessed by visiting your nearest DSD office, or by contacting one of our funded NPO partners. Services can also be accessed by calling the Gender-Based Violence Command Centre on 0800 428 428.
More information about services can be found at helpformen.co.za