Call for men to open up

An audience member addresses the meeting.

Sonke Gender has called on men to break their silence against abuse by other men and acknowledge that men are also abused.

Launching its 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign, in Gugulethu, on Friday November 25, the advocacy group said nothing was done to assist abused men because they kept quiet about their ordeal. The organisation called for the campaign to continue throughout the year.

Speaking at the launch, activist Thabile Masala said men were not speaking out, so it was difficult to help them.

“Society needs to break that silence against men. Men are also victims of abuse. It is about time that they come out of the cocoon. They should know that there is help.

“We have organisations like Mosaic that speak about their problems,” he said.

Mr Masala said his organisation would continue to spread awareness and it was about time that men speak out and get help.

“We seek to spread the word. We are still behind in reporting crime as men. We are happy that we organised this men’s event.

“But if you look at the majority of attendants, they are female. That’s the problem we need to deal with every time we call meetings,” he said.

Duma Nkomana, another member of Sonke Gender, appealed to society and law enforcement to help men with their cases.

He said most men were concerned about the stigma attached to reporting abuse and of being labelled as weak.

“That one is reporting abuse does not mean one is weak. It is a well-known fact that men are also on the receiving end of abuse.

“Men are abused by their wives and girlfriends. As men we need to know that there is help,” he said.

However, the organisation is still adamant that with more campaigns, men will eventually seek help.

Sonke appealed to society to understand what men go through and not judge them.

Sabelo Rasmeni, from the Emavundleni Centre, a branch of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, urged young and old to help by testing for HIV. He also called on those needing anti-retrovirals to take them and not throw them away.

He said there were cases where tons of the medication were found in dustbins.