Brothers for Life – Call to Action against Violence on Women and Children
What can you do?
Every man in South Africa has a choice. Either he can choose to abuse the women in his life physically and emotionally. Or he can choose to protect their health and wellbeing – and his own.
Here’s what you can do to make the positive, powerful, protective choice…
- Decide today NOT to look away, NOT to be a bystander and NOT to be silent. Be a man who will take action against violence against women and children
- Try to understand how your own attitudes and actions might perpetuate sexism and violence, be honest with yourself and work toward changing them.
- If you are emotionally, physically, or sexually abusive to your partner and or your children, find out where you can get professional help and get it NOW.
- If alcohol makes you more likely to commit violence, start drinking less, and seek help if this proves difficult.
- If your relative, neighbour, friend, colleague is abusive to his partner and children, if you are comfortable doing so, if it is safe , try to talk to him about it, urge him to seek help. But remember: if the man is armed or has a history of violence or of threatening to kill his partner, take great care before confronting him
- Talk to your friends and colleagues , relatives and encourage them to also actively take a stand against the abuse of women and children
- Learn about the services in your community that provide assistance to women and children who experience violence and abuse, use this knowledge to empower other men, women and children in your community.
- Put the issue of violence against women and children firmly in the agenda of your community, your workplace, your church, your community policing forum, your stokvel, society and many other forums in which you participate.
- Provide support to women and children, if you suspect that a woman close to you is being abused or has been sexually assaulted, gently ask if you can help, offer support by listening to her and allowing her to express her feelings and help her explore ways of decisively dealing with the situation
- Offer practical support by helping victims to report abuse to the police, try to shield the victim from the pressure of withdrawing the case, strongly encourage the police to take speedy action, as the law requires. You could also help abused women to get Protection Orders from the Magistrate’s court – which is their right under the Domestic Violence Act.
- If a woman has been raped, you can help her to access health services quickly – it’s critical that she receive post-exposure prophylaxis within 72 hours to reduce the risk of HIV.
- Be exemplary, mentor and teach young boys about how responsible men interact meaningfully with girls and women in ways that don’t involve degrading and violence
- Talk to women in your community and actively support their initiatives aimed at addressing issues of violence and child abuse.
- Be aware violence and abuse against children too, bruises, scratches, cuts, scalds and burns, malnutrition are the obvious signs but also be aware other signs such as withdrawal, anxiety, fear, sadness and defiance
- Think about how you can create healthy relationships with women – how you can change your attitudes and actions to make your partner, yourself and your family both healthier and happier.
- Be a Brother for Life, play your role and share this information with as many of your acquaintances as you can