We are not born knowing what hate and discrimination is. The behaviour is something we learn. Our parents, the movies we watch, music we listen to and the environment we live in, all play a role.
“Your input becomes your output”
Most abusers have gained experience from being abused by their parents or witnessing an act of abuse on somebody else. Growing up, this type of behaviour is then seen as something normal and the emotional scars are carried with them for the rest of their lives. Eventually this affects their own personal relationships. Instead of being abused they become the abuser, giving them a sense of power and a feeling of control.
Similar behaviour can be seen in public, where a perpetrator zero’s in on somebody they see as being vulnerable. They target a woman or an elderly person and see it as an opportunity to take advantage of them.
This story happened not so long ago in Cape Town and depicts exactly what happens in our society. How women, children and the elderly are seen as weak and therefore an easy target for many types of crimes, including abuse and violence. Read more here.
Besides the person actually committing the crime, why do other men or bystanders stand and do nothing?
Fear is a big factor, but I think in today’s society we have lost our sense of community. You don’t know that person who needs help, why should you offer assistance. Many times it is the the institutions and authorities who fail at protecting the victim. Nothing gets done or everybody looks the other way because the person responsible for the abuse is a prominent figure in society.
Another scenario, married women look to their husbands for protection, but many women suffer abuse and humiliation from their spouses. A good example is, Bafana Bafana striker Marks Maponyane. He was found guilty of assaulting his wife. Just like normal public (Jan Publiek in Afrikaans) any public figure who transgress and are found guilty of violence and abuse should be held accountable and suffer the full extent of the law.
Men should seek help and avoid crimes of violence towards women. Read more to see what else the SA Civic Organization or SANCO had to say about this issue.
Issues about violence and abuse are on the rise every day you watch or read the news.
The internet and social media have also become a place where people feel they can say whatever they want, because of many who don’t raise their voices. Many times on social media and other platforms there are no consequences to their actions. Cyber VAW (Violence Against Women) is a real problem in our society today. Organisations for Women’s Rights needs the communities to stand together and form campaigns to get networks and governments to take this issue seriously.
Why do we need more men fighting abuse? The more men who stand together and get involved against abuse, the more the light is shined on the problem. Bringing a conscious awareness to the issue can be the beginning of moving towards ending the cycle of abuse.
The best method to break the cycle of abuse is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Get the issue of abuse at its roots, at home and with the youth. Men and parents together, teaching their son’s how to properly treat women and show respect to all people. Bring awareness to the situation, getting everybody to acknowledge that any form of abuse is not okay. Early education is important in helping young boys and girls develop healthy relationships. Awareness about the issue should start at home and extend into the community, through media and other forms to develop an effective prevention programme.
Men can become involved in the community by supporting drives such as Safe House’s Painted Nail Campaign. The campaign involves 16 Days of awareness that focuses on gender based violence and abuse. This is held each year from the 25 November to the 10 December. Men paint a single nail as a conversation starter to show support of the cause. In Australia men and boys actually take an oath to never remain silent about violence against women and children.
Try to teach boys not to be involved in promoting sexist behaviour by objectifying or stereotyping women. We need men who are seen as leaders of the community to stand up and break the silence. The answer is to take action and not to not let abuse be ignored and allowed to continue.
Safe House is a place of safety for women who are fleeing domestic violence. As a registered NPO, we look to the public for financial support. Please consider becoming a Friend of Safe House and commit to donating just R100 per month to help us further our work.
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