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MEC launches men’s forum

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Northern Cape men urged to take the lead in the fight against women and child abuse

Gift van Staden, MEC of Social Development. File picture

THE MEC for Social Development, Gift van Staden, urged men in the Northern Cape to be at the forefront of the fight against women and child abuse in the Province.

Van Staden, along with other government departments and various stakeholders, launched the Frances Baard Men’s Forum in Kimberley yesterday.

“We have seen an increase in violence against females over the past months. The government felt that the increase warranted an action plan from everyone, especially men in our communities. Men also need to speak out against such incidents, as the majority of perpetrators of these acts are men. The call is now on the men who witness these acts to not just stand by silently and observe how women and children are being oppressed and abused but to take action against the perpetrators,” said Van Staden.

“We need to urge men to appreciate women and to see them as their equals. One of the ways we will address these challenges is by hosting dialogues for men, where we educate them on how to speak out and report such incidents. We will have discussions and educational programmes for men in the workplace as well as in churches. We want to see a non-sexist society where everyone is equal.”

Van Staden said that the programme would also focus on young boys. “There are many programmes aimed at empowering women and girls whereas there are not a lot of programmes aimed at empowering boys in our society. We need to urgently educate our boys on how to treat their female peers. These boys are growing up to be fathers and husbands and we need to lay the foundation on how to respect women early on.”

Van Staden said that the programme would be rolled out to all five districts of the Province.