SA Social Development Minister Urges Men to Lead the Fight against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide

Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Social Development, asserts that men are change agents in reducing the spread of HIV and tackling gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) in communities.

“One of the key tasks in preventing gender-based violence in all its forms is to enlist the active participation of men in all communities throughout the 52 districts and metropolitan municipalities of our country,” Zulu said in Parliament on Tuesday.

She delivered a speech in the National Men’s Parliament. The Minister praised the involvement of men who have shown a commitment to nonviolence.

“Toxic masculinity puts pressure on boys to be tough and emotionless. These societal constructs of what it means to be a man are extremely harmful to the boys who are being socialised into them, to the men that they become, to our families and to all of society,” Zulu said.

She said that all men may contribute to removing the stigma around mental health by encouraging men to use psychosocial support services, especially mental health support.

“It is really important that we do that because men in general are less likely to seek assistance when faced with family, health, societal, and economic challenges. It is particularly important that we have met here over the last two days to foreground men’s agenda and to reflect on the state of the South African men.

“Gone are the days when men were only seen as providers or disciplinarians in families. Men have a critical role to play, particularly with respect to correctly nurturing and socialising their children.”

Men who promote change, according to Zulu, contribute to the battle against many societal concerns like as HIV, substance abuse, and underage pregnancies.

“They are not part of these problems. They are on the side of the positive solutions; real solutions that go to the heart of manhood are needed. This starts with building safe spaces by men, for men and with men.

According to Zulu, men have a genuine fear of being neglected when it comes to job and empowerment opportunities.

“These frustrations, which turn into violent expressions, need alternative avenues and language[of expression]… We do know that many men do not abuse their partners and children. These are the men who continuously strive to embody respect and dignity.”

The National Men’s Parliament is a part of the Parliament’s endeavour to address sector-specific concerns in order to produce a coordinated national plan of action regarding the role of men in the fight against gender-based violence.

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