EDITORIAL | Raise awareness of gender violence


Whether or not you are on social media you may have heard of or seen the latest video to go viral featuring a nasty incident of gender-based violence.
The clip of musician Mampintsha appears to show him assaulting long-term girlfriend and fellow musician Babes Wodumo.
Thanks to their shock value, abusive acts captured on film spread rapidly via channels such as Twitter, Facebook and the like.
What is more, we have as a country become more aware of the scourge of gender-based violence and hashtags such as #MeToo, #MenAreTrash and others have played their part in raising much-needed awareness.
This country has made significant strides in opening up for discussion the topic of gender-based violence.
However, we hope this or any similar video does not remain a subject of vocal outrage or be purely a water-cooler talking point because it can also be used to educate. What is more, we need to hold these important conversations not only in the public domain but also in private spaces.
Let’s start in the family. Encourage your children to speak up if they see gender-based violence, model appropriate behaviour for your son and let your daughter know her voice will be heard if she reports unwanted touch.
Let your son know this also, as many of our boys are also victims of sexual abuse and other repugnant acts.
In the schools, teachers need to spread this message at an early age, as do sports clubs, churches and neighbours.
Then there is the crucial role of the SAPS in community police stations as they are often the first port of call.
Sadly, there are still too many stations where complaints of domestic violence are not taken seriously or treated with the necessary urgency, and we call on frontline staff to be educated and sensitised to these issues.
A personal violation should not need to be reported to the nation via social media to be given the attention it deserves. We hope the outrage about this particular video spreads farther than across Twitter, and that the constructive conversations will also permeate our classrooms, homes and workplaces.

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