By Libuseng Nyaka
QWAQWA – President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged young men and boys to have a similar relationship that they have with their mothers and sisters, with other women.
Ramaphosa said this as he encouraged young men and boys to take the lead in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV) at the launch of the men’s in Soweto, Gauteng.
He said it was imperative for efforts to end the scourge of GBV to focus on its prevention.
“Learn from your relationship of son and mother, and that of father and daughter or sister. You would never mean to degrade her. We must have that image of our relationships with our mothers and sisters with other women.
“It is very important to focus on young men and boys. People always ask why there is so much focus on women, especially activities like marches and empowerment. This shows there is a crisis in our country,” Ramaphosa said.
The President pointed out that the crisis in question is violence against women, which is perpetrated by men.
“We rape, kill and push women to the back in the workplace. We need men to get together and put an end to this. In line with the gender strategic plan in the fight against gender-based violence, focusing on prevention is one of the key aspects of what needs to be done.
“To do that there must be an open and honest conversation on what contributes to violence against women and girls. Men and boys need to talk openly and honestly. We need to talk about things like patriarchal attitudes that are inculcated men by social and family set-ups, that men are more important than women and they must answer to us and listen to us.”
He emphasised that toxic masculinity must be challenged and changed.
“It teaches men that they must dominate and, worse, demean a woman. I’ve always said people must have a picture of very important figures in their lives and begin to use that as a mirror to look at themselves.
“A relationship of a man with his mother will never be a relationship where you want to dominate. The same applies to your relationship with your daughter or sister. You would never degrade them. We need to have this image in our interaction with women in our country.“