'Involve women in the initiation custom' - EC Women's Caucus

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The Women’s Caucus of the Eastern Cape Legislature is demanding that women be more directly involved in the male circumcision custom, saying the lives of boy children are at stake.

In a statement, chair of the women’s caucus standing committee, Bukiwe Fanta, condemned the senseless deaths of 16 initiates in the province during the winter circumcision season.

“The Women’s Caucus has noted with grave concern the death of initiates, the increasing number of underage initiates who are below the prescribed age of 18 participating in the custom.

“High levels of horrific beatings and torture that initiates are put through [are] a brutal practice that Women’s Caucus condemns,” Fanta said in the statement.

She said the crisis that the province found itself in with the increasing number of deaths of initiates was because women were “deliberately sidelined” from the custom.

“Women and mothers will always ensure that no underage child of their own goes to initiation school, goes to an illegal circumcision, goes to initiation school without medication if he has a medical condition, that the child is starved, the child is tortured and ultimately the child is killed.

“A woman would have intervened to avert all of the above from ever taking place.

“The Women’s Caucus calls for greater collaboration between Government and social partners, and for women to demand for a more direct participation during initiation custom as a boy child’s life is at stake,” she said.

The Women’s Caucus called upon all men, civil society, churches, political formations, sport, social clubs and businesses such as the Taxi Industry to hep curb the deaths and brutal violence that some initiates are subjected to.

They said the survivors of violence at initiation schools exhibit signs of post-traumatic stress disorder that is never diagnosed.

“When initiates return to society they may return as changed individuals who exercise and exhibit levels of violence to women, children and to society that they never displayed prior going to initiation school,” Fanta said.

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