December is synonymous with celebration and a time of gratitude. However, unfortunately, it is also a time where we see an increase in gender-based violence (GBV). Joining the discussion, Michael Benevolent Masina from the Tears Foundation in Johannesburg gives insight into the dark side of the festive season.
Masina is a registered wellness counsellor and senior intervention specialist who holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and English literature from North-West University, as well as a BSc Honours degree in psychology from the University of Johannesburg.
Even after concluding the 16 days of awareness campaign against GBV, South Africa still have a battle to fight in terms of gender-based violence. There is still a huge crisis in the country of unreported cases, says Mesina.
Stats are misleading
He adds that he deals with so many victims who come forward for psychosocial support and assistance. However, once the legal aspect gets raised, they hesitate and refuse to continue because of their lack of faith in the justice system. Statistics gathered and presented are therefore not always a true reflection of what is happening on the ground and the number of victims affected.
Mesina emphasises that along with the festivities and joyous celebrations, we can expect to see a hike in gender-based violence as well as rape cases during the festive period. Factors contributing to the increase are:
- Overconsumption of alcohol.
- Visiting of new/unfamiliar places and environments.
- Victims who find themselves in abusive relationships no longer have the luxury of going to work but are now forced to stay and be in the presence of their perpetrator.
Instilling values in children
Mesina challenges communities to start thinking about the “values we are instilling in our children and the toxic behaviour we are perpetuating when it comes to the boy child”. Teaching young boys to suppress their emotions and different values to that of the girl child ultimately impacts to thinking they are superior, opening the door for them to exercise control and power, he cautions.
In the podcast, Mesina also elaborates on the lack of knowledge and sensitivity of police officials and healthcare workers and how this impacts the GBV victim.
Listen to the full interview on the Health For Mzansi podcast:
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