Violence against women and children must never be tolerated and men should play an active role in protecting them. These words reverberated through the Harare venue which hosted an awareness event commemorating the 16 Days Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign.
It was organised by Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) and various other stakeholders and took place on Friday December 7.
The core message delivered on the day denounced the senseless domestic abuse against women and children and men, in particular, were urged to unite in the fight against this issue.
Young boys were cautioned to reconsider their negative assumptions about girls and women.
VPUU area manager in Harare, Mncedisi Mbatha, said they hosted this kind of event every year because it was critical to raise such issues in the community. He said through the event they wanted to dismantle myths around abuse. One such myth, he said, was that if men do not hit their wives or girlfriends, they do not love them.
Mr Mbatha said love should not make a man’s partner a punching a bag. But love should be expressed through compassion and caring.
He said society had a role to play in moulding the youth into becoming responsible citizens who understand the negative impact of abuse towards women and children. But he said it should be highlighted that men and boys were also victims of abuse and that needed to be addressed as well.
“We no longer want to hear about domestic violence. We want men to be responsible and solve their issues like adults. Let us stop each other from abusing children and women. We should raise a strong and united voice against women and child abuse,” he said.
Ward councillor, Anele Gabuza, said men who continue to abuse women and children should be ashamed of themselves. And, he added, men who do not speak out against the abuse of children and women were indirectly perpetrators of domestic abuse.
Resident Yanga Mvakwendlu said he had learnt a lot through the campaign.Representative of Baphumelele Children’s home in Khayelitsha, Seithati Nketle-Magqibelo, said such campaigns were critical and should be held more often. Ms Nketle Magqibelo said the organisation had a range of programmes that dealt with bad behaviour in children and aimed to ensure that children made informed life choices.