GBV – An Issue for Men to Address
“At first, I thought it was only for women to go out and fight gender-based violence but my understanding has broadened – is also a fight for men too.”
I became an RRT leader after working closely with my wife driving her to different areas where there were cases of women who had been raped.
I am a pastor and a counsellor at Grace Ministries in Chatsworth and also serve my community in Wentworth. Since I started to work as an RRT member in my community, I have discovered a new me.
Dealing with broken couples from various areas and men that are abusive has been eye-opening. At first, I thought it was only for women to go out and fight gender-based violence but my understanding has broadened – is also a fight for men too. I am now recognised in my community and since joining I have received a lot of calls to speak to men particularly with regards to GBV.
I myself was abused as a child and promised myself that I would not do the same to my family. My stepfather used to hit my mum and chase me and my siblings out as he brought other women home.
Through this project, I have taken it upon myself that I will never allow men to attack and rape women. I have started a drive-through during school hours where I observe and act as an eye in my community. I am so motivated to the point where I refuse to be idle and stay home. I have trained through Cookie Edwards and worked in a program in 2013-2015 called ‘Brothers for life’ where we as men go to schools and speak to young boys about issues concerning abuse against women. I was eager to learn and get empowered to help others.
This project have made me the person I am in my local church where people come to me anytime to talk because my door is open as my wife gets a stipend that helps us reach areas we could otherwise not reach due to financial problems. We are able to assist those who are in need in our church community. GL has really made a difference in my life as I can now transport the volunteers from the station to different areas to empower other communities.
My future plan is to get more involved in changing my community and also to empower other men through workshops centred on transforming them into ‘drivers of change’. I also hope to introduce this to various churches in many different communities as we train pastors and men in them.
Our greatest challenges were not being able to reach areas or women because of the lack of finances, but for now under this project, we are able to do this. Another difficulty was getting men to come forward and report abuse and rape as it often happens within our community. This is what I am passionate about addressing – helping men to break the silence.
We would also like our police officers to get trained on GBV survivor assistance and have proposed this to WWSOSA and KZNVAW.
Thank you GL for your support.