With the festive season upon us, it is that time of the year when most families are gearing up for various trips, gatherings and activities, but it is also a time when many incidents of gender-based violence (GBV) occur.
In an effort to raise a sharp voice against this scourge, Beautiful Gate, a non-profit organisation, in partnership with various community stakeholders, held a march in Lower Crossroads.
They wanted to take a stand during the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign, a United Nations campaign that takes place annually from November 25 (International Day of No Violence against Women) to December 10 (International Human Rights Day).
Child and Youth care worker from Beautiful gate, Amanda Mketsu, said through the march they wanted to urge residents not to suffer in silence but rather raise their voices and look for help.
They specifically invited stakeholders who have programmes to help people, she said.
“We feel that our people are not open enough about such issues.
“We have discovered that most women who stay in abusive relationships often stay in those situations simply because the abuser is the one that is providing and taking care of family matters.
“Poverty plays a huge role in keeping those who are abused (stuck where they are). We also know that substance abuse leads to many factors that contribute to gender-based violence.
“We want to urge men and women of Philippi and greater Crossroads to end GBV and stand with us in finding solutions.
“We want every man to step up and say not in his name. We cannot end the scourge of GBV without the support of the community.
“We must be proactive in this fight. We are also aware that men are victims of GBV and we call on them not to suffer silence. We thoroughly hope that our message against GBV lands in the right ears,” she said.
A representative from Mosaic, Phumzile Nyongo, said the organisation works with various stakeholders and they formed part of the march to show support.
He believes that women have raised their voices against GBV more than enough and it was time that good men stand up and make their voices heard too.
He called on men to lead by example and ensure that there are safe spaces in our communities as it was men in many cases who are perpetrators of gender-based violence.
However, he also called on men not to be scared or fear humiliation when they are abused and to report it.
Domestic coordinator at Philippi East Police station Constable Natalia Jibilikile, said police services have transformed over the years so that they could meet the needs of the community.
She said such campaigns were important as they help them in their endless fight to end gender-based violence.