‘State has no plan to end abuse in families’

This article was originally written for the Cape Times
By Francesca Villette

There is no concrete plan from government on how it can combat violence against women and children, Sonke Gender Justice spokesman Patrick Godana said yesterday.

As the country celebrates Women’s Day today, Godana said men were paramount in helping to build an equal society as they were also responsible for raising children.

But there is much to be desired when it comes to combating domestic and sexual abuse by men, which could crash a society, Godana said.

According to StatsSA about 60 percent of households are male-headed.

“We live in a patriarchal country and there is no plan from government to address violence within the home. We are playing the waiting game to hear what programmes will be put in place.

“The effects of physical, mental, and emotional abuse by men can have devastating effects on women,” Godana said.

The Institute for Security Studies defines domestic abuse as either physical and sexual abuse, economic abuse, emotional, verbal and psychological abuse, and any other controlling behaviour such as intimidation, harassment and stalking.

Molo Songololo director Patrie Solomons said fathers need to give their children love on a daily basis, and when it comes to their daughters, they need to treat them the way they would want another man to treat her. But too many fathers get caught up in a “mysogynistic social space”.

“The best time a father can play a role to help ensure children become active and responsible members of society is during their formative years. They might not realise it, but this is when children pick up on behaviour and mimic that behaviour. If, for example, a father tells everyone his daughter is a little sunshine princess but abuses her mother at home and the child sees that, it will confuse her about men and harm her expectations of how they should treat her,” he said.