HIV: Your questions answered

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Disabilities and South African law: Know your rights

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Enough is enough: How men can join the fight against GBV

Reading time: ±3 min.

South African women have been tirelessly rallying for an end to gender-based violence. Now it’s time for men to take a stand, find out why gender-based violence is so prevalent in SA and learn what they can do to really make a difference. Read on to join the fight…

Gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide are a widespread problem in South Africa, with stats published in the Crimes Against Women in South Africa report showing that femicide in South Africa is 5 times higher than the global average.

According to SaferSpaces, between 25% and 40% of South African women have experienced sexual or physical intimate partner violence, while just under 50% have experienced emotional or economic abuse by their partners in their lifetime.

Why do men need to join the fight?

‘We want to stop gender-based violence before it happens, and that requires tackling toxic masculinity and notions of patriarchy,’ said Bafana Khumalo, co-founder of Sonke Gender Justice, in an interview with the Daily Maverick.

Men play a key role in ending GBV, as they have influence over male social norms within their circles.

To make a real change, they need to speak to their friends, sons, fathers and brothers to help them unlearn the social norms that drive GBV.

Why is GBV so entrenched in South African communities?

‘There is a desperate absence of positive male figures in South African communities, and boys as young as 10 years old are recruited by gangs, perpetuating the cycle of violence,’ says Corna Olivier, a registered psychological counsellor. She adds that there is an overwhelming focus on intervention programmes for women and girls, but virtually none for males.

Some reasons why the cycle of GBV continues in SA include:

  • A widespread belief among South African men that they are entitled to women and are more powerful than women
  • Men associating masculinity with controlling women
  • Violence against women being considered acceptable in some settings and cultures in South Africa, making it difficult for GBV to be addressed effectively
  • Gender stereotypes, including linking masculinity with ‘macho’ and violent behaviour and femininity with victimhood and submission
  • Being exposed to violence at home during childhood, experiencing abuse or witnessing violence for long periods

What can men do to make a difference?

‘Women are the collateral damage in the battle raging within our boys and men. Anger is a secondary emotion, aggression the expression thereof. The primary emotion is fear. Men need to help men heal,’ says Corna. Men can do the following to help end the cycle:

  • Be a dependable role model. The best way to teach is by example. Take responsibility at home, in your workplace and in your social circles, and be a role model for other males, showing them that men need to treat women respectfully and as equals. Raise your male children to treat women with respect, dignity and kindness, and openly discuss the issue of consent – ‘no’ means ‘no’.
  • Speak up and take action. Help your colleagues, friends and family members to unlearn the attitude that ‘boys will be boys’. Calling out other men on unacceptable behaviour, such as catcalling, harassment and inappropriate comments, is an important step. Report them for any GBV-related acts and support women when they ask for help.
  • Take responsibility for your mental health. If you suspect you are struggling with a mental health condition such as depression, anger or difficulty exercising self-control, see a mental health expert or ask your doctor to refer you to one.

For more insight into gender-based violence, read this helpful article:

For confidential assistance, contact Life EHS; SMS your name to 31581 and the Care Centre will call you back.

The information is shared on condition that readers will make their own determination, including seeking advice from a professional. E&OE.


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5 tough-love talks to inspire you

Let’s face it – sometimes it feels like work is just work. You wish it were more meaningful and inspiring and, right now, it definitely doesn’t make you want to leap out of bed every morning. If you’re relating to this a little too much, listen to our roundup of motivating talks.

1. When you’re trying to find meaning

What: The Meaning of Work
Format: Podcast series
Duration: 4 x 9–15 minute episodes
Why: ‘Some of us hate it, some of us love it, but most of us have no choice,’ says TED Talk radio host Guy Raz. This series discusses work-related issues, such as the professional pecking order, finding meaning in a monotonous job, our motivation for work and breaking into new industries.

2. When you need to be brave

What: The Power of Vulnerability
Format: TED Talk
Duration: 20 minutes
Why: Have you been thinking you have a great idea, but have been too afraid to tell your colleagues or manager about it? Brené Brown, a researcher in vulnerability, courage, authenticity and shame, argues that you can’t find connection or progress if you don’t open up. ‘You have to be vulnerable to be courageous,’ she says, and this talk is an honest exploration of the human psyche and an examination of bravery. You might want to convert one of her inspirational quotes into a mantra to keep at your desk.

3. When you need tough love after failure

What: Three Lessons I Learned from Winning Olympic Gold
Format: TedXJohannesburg Talk
Duration: 17 minutes
Why: You may have failed at something recently, but Olympic gold medallist Penny Heyns says that’s no reason to give up. In this talk, she discusses the lessons she learnt during her career as a professional Olympic swimmer, the art of goal-setting, and overcoming some of life’s challenges.

4. When you’re feeling stressed

What: How to Turn Stress into an Advantage
Format: 99U lecture
Duration: 24 minutes
Why: At some point at work you’ve probably found yourself in a stressful situation and experienced anxious feelings, but Kelly McGonigal argues that stress can be turned into a source of strength. All it takes is a shift in perspective. Drawing from research and her own experiences as a health psychologist, Kelly presents a compelling strategy for managing your wellbeing in the workplace.

5. When you need inspiration from a real-life story

What: The Magna Carta of Exponentiality
Format: Podcast
Duration: 22 minutes
Why: You may recognise Vusi Thembekwayo from Dragons’ Den South Africa, but what you may not know is that his story has humble beginnings. In this interview with Radio 702 host Bongani Bingwa, the venture capitalist, global business speaker and author talks about how hard work and a bit of luck were the major players in getting him to where he is today.

The information is shared on condition that readers will make their own determination, including seeking advice from a healthcare professional. E&OE.

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