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Males and females are different and their differences are complementary in many ways.
But today, we see girls and women’s bodies turned into crime scenes. Mostly by boys and men.
Before I go further, let me state this:
A part of me strongly believes that our government is deliberately avoiding focusing on perpetrators of this gender-based violence (who are mostly boys and men).
You don’t need more than half a brain cell to understand that anything that isn’t dealt with, or eliminated, right from its roots, has the potential to grow again. The crime stats revealed recently show that the murder rate has increased by 3.9 percentage points. And these stats show that 1,150 people were murdered in incidents of domestic violence.
Mostly, these are femicides – women killed by boyfriends and husbands.
On the other hand, sexual offences are UP by 4.5%. Again, most of these offences are committed by boys and men.
It makes absolutely no sense that, to date, our government is only investing resources in safe spaces for women. They don’t put sufficient focus on victims. Some perpetrators are sentenced to jail and get to come out of correctional services as educated people, having used their state-subsidised time behind bars to get back to the books and improve themselves.
Their victims – girls and women – are left scarred for life. And even though many like to call themselves survivors rather than victims, the violence changes their lives in an irreversible way.
It goes without saying that this is a serious national crisis, yet our democratically elected government thinks that having women speak out and ‘be cautious’ is the best shot they could give this deadly scourge.
It is unthinkable that we have a state that doesn’t want to make boys and men acknowledge their role in the rape, femicide and all other forms of violation girls and women face in our country.
We are honestly not serious about this, and it calls for a state of emergency.
We are willing, and many of us only need the necessary resources to start doing something about this national crisis.
Firstly, we must teach our boys and men to champion feminism. Many of us misunderstand this phenomenon. The concept of feminism is not about teaching boys to be girls. Sigh! It is about both boys and girls, men and women, who are fighting for equality. It is a fight for an equality that doesn’t stifle the humanity of boys or girls. But it promotes and celebrates equality of the sexes.
When I, personally, talk about the empowerment of boys and men, it is mainly about teaching boys to know their strength in acknowledging their own emotions.
It is equally about showing them their resilience and that their toughness should be expressed in the intolerance of violence and all forms of toxicities.
But many fail to understand this basic tenet of why we advocate for the boy child.
It is never and will never be about adding to the advantages they already have. Being born male in our society is already an advantage.
It is in acknowledging the dangers their masculinity poses if left unchecked or unguided. The truth is, it has been left to just unfold as it sees fit since Moses parted the Red Sea.
We need to socialise and nurture masculinity progressively and positively.
Evidently, the government and other stakeholders are not serious about this, and this should, therefore, remind us of our own power as civilians. This means that change we want to see needs to start in our homes.
Let’s work together to transform boys, men and masculinity. Moreover, let us invest in organisations that are doing this, urgently.
Chabalala is the founder of the Young Men Movement, an organisations that focuses on the reconstruction of the socialisation of boys to create a new cohort of men who will exude positive masculinity.
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