Real men do not do drugs and don’t rape – and they report the abuse of women and children.
That was the message shared with young men, all members of a Boys to Men initiative, at the Nonceba Family Counselling Centre in Khayelitsha, on Tuesday December 5.As part of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign, boys from the age of 12 were advised to embrace life and to stand up against gender-based violence.
The boys were urged not to drop out of school due to peer pressure or societal ills, while speakers stressed the need for accountability, love for their female counterparts, care and knowledge of their surroundings.
Nonceba’s Thozama Baka said it was important for the boys to choose their friends carefully, adding that often boys grew up in bad environments or did not have father figures.
“Some grew up very angry.
They are from broken and dysfunctional homes. Such children have anger.
That is why we need by all times to comfort and show them the way.
“They are emotionally and physically broken too.
“It is then our task to take care of them by showing love to them,” she said.
Ms Baka said the boys needed to be taught at an early age that girls had to be respected as their equals. “We want them to use this opportunity that is given to them. They need to know what domestic violence is and talk about it. We want them to report all cases of gender-based violence,” she said.
Khaya Mkunyana, involved in public education outreach at the Provincial Legislature, appealed to the young men to be responsible and to educate themselves about their Constitutional rights.
“We want them to grow up to be good, responsible citizens. But most importantly, they need to know children’s rights as prescribed in the Constitution,” he said.The boys were also asked to come up with innovative ways to prevent gender-based violence and given the opportunity to ask questions – which they did before taking a pledge against woman and child abuse.