By Emily Setona
QWAQWA – Men and women from various communities in Maluti-a-Phofung (MAP) local municipality marched to the Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality (TMDM) council chamber to commemorate World AIDS day on December 1 2023.
The highlight of the day was the launch of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence (GBV).
The purpose of the day was to create a safe space where all genders could gather and talk about the things that are the root cause of the alarming rise in GBV in the community of MAP.
Addressing the crowd, Robert Setloboko from the Department of Social Development said people need to start working on themselves and do a lot of introspection so they can change their behaviour.
“We’ve realized that a lot of men harbour a lot of anger inside and do not find it easy to talk about their problems out of the fear of being viewed as weak.
“Both men and women need to heal themselves from childhood traumas so that they can be able to raise their children in healthy households that do not promote gender-based violence,” Setloboko said.
The Guard spoke to some of the men who attended the event, to get their views on GBV.
“I think the root cause of GBV will not be properly addressed because men are still viewed as the primary perpetrators even though this day is about gender-based violence which is not only perpetrated by men.
“For as long as men are vilified those of us who are not abusers will always feel left out and ask ourselves what is the point of behaving well when the general stigma of abuse is place on men?” Abraham Mofokeng said.
Robert Setloboko from DSD addressing the audience.
His sentiments were echoed by another man, Pheello Nzimande, who emphasized that both genders are capable of abuse.
“We need to change the mindset of women when it comes to this issue because as much as we have moved from the issue of activism against primarily women and children and are now focusing on gender, women still blame men and never take responsibility for their own actions.”
Kaizer Makona from Lifeline Thabo Mofutsanyana said they offer mental and emotional health services and all genders are welcome to visit their offices or call their tollfree number where a trained professional will be able to assist the person in need of help.