If you rape, kill and abuse women and children – you don’t deserve to be called a man.
This was a strong message delivered by Ilitha Labantu, a non-governmental organisation, during its awareness campaign last Thursday.
The organisation, in partnership with various stakeholders, embarked on a motorcade from Gugulethu police station to Lotus informal settlements under the theme #Uthuleleni.
Ilitha Labantu education and outreach facilitator, Ludwe Nkomo, said the campaign sought to appeal to men to stop abusing women and children and for women and men to stand firm against gender-based violence.
Most importantly, however, he said they wanted women to speak up about abuse and not “die in silence”.
In the townships in particular, he said, women and children were being killed almost on a daily basis and that while women’s fear of men may seem irrational, their fear was justified by men’s actions.
“We must despise gender-based violence in our areas. We must be harsh towards men when we speak about gender-based violence because they are the perpetrators in many cases.
“We must speak about this matter daily until we no longer hear any cases of gender-based violence in our communities,” he said.
Mr Nkomo has urged young men to place themselves at the forefront in this fight.
Ward 42 councillor, Sonwabo Ngxumza, said in black families there is a tendency of calling a family meeting when a child informs her parents about being raped, especially if the person is a relative.
That, he said, should end because rape should be immediately reported to the police rather than being discussed among family members.
“Rape destroys the victim emotionally and physically. If you have raped then you must face the music. Our communities should also allow the law to take its course so that the perpetrators could be punished for their actions.
“The integrity and dignity of men have been tarnished. It is therefore their duty of the few good man outside to show the world we are not all the same ,” he said.
Gugulethu police station commander, Brigadier Nokuzola Pete, urged the community to be their ears and eyes so that they could tighten their grip on criminals. Brigadier Pete said the community at large had a role to play in ensuring that perpetrators of gender-based violence were arrested. But she urged the community to work hand-in-hand with police officers and not against them.