People unite against abuse

2017-05-24 06:00
The march organised by Childline in the Northern Cape saw stakeholders marching through the streets of Galeshewe on National Childline Day under the theme “Act against abuse, urging men to take the lead”.Photo: Supplied

The march organised by Childline in the Northern Cape saw stakeholders marching through the streets of Galeshewe on National Childline Day under the theme “Act against abuse, urging men to take the lead”.Photo: Supplied

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“Re batla dikgomo mme re tswelela re senyetsa bana ba rona kafa.”

These were the words of Rev. Neo Phoolo, programme director at the Galeshewe Social Centre, after successfully leading a march organised by Childline in Kimberley on Wednesday (17/05).

He criticised the behaviour of men, who are expected to be the ones looking out for the well-being of children.

Phoolo was joined by reverends from other churches.

The march was organised to create awareness of all kinds of abuse against children, under the theme “Act against abuse, urging men to take the lead”.

The event was held in partnership with the South African Council of Churches (SACC), Wanya Tsotsi, the Department of Safety and Security, the Department of Social Development, Child Welfare and DeafSA.

A pledge against child abuse was signed, due to the concern over the daily rape and murder of children.

A frustrated Phoolo said: “It is shameful that nowadays men can no longer determine the difference between a child and a woman.

“We are the ones who are supposed to encourage children to break the silence, but instead we are damaging their future.

“How would you feel if you learn that your child was abused and you are also an abuser?

“We should also be applauding, like the late Mandla Hlatswayo, who died a hero while protecting women.”

The reverend was referring to the death of actor and DJ Hlatshwayo who was shot and killed in Soweto on Sunday, 14 May, when attempting to protect two women from armed robbers.

“Our theme as reverends here is: ‘Not in my name.’

“No, we are not all going to be labelled as dogs,” he said to the cheering audience.

The director of Childline, Innocentia Mosemeng, said the partnership with different stakeholders was identified as a way towards urging men to be at the forefront of fighting abuse through involvement of churches.

“We are saying enough is enough. We need men to take the lead in lobbying for the rights of children and women against these social ills,” she emphasised.

She highlighted that pastors and reverends are also encouraged to discuss abuse in their sermons in order to educate society.

Mosemeng said the march will be an annual occurrence and therefore requests that more sectors come on board to make the voices of the vulnerable heard.

The manager of the Thuthuzela Rape Centre in Kimberley, Zandile Deyi, stressed the importance of the roles of pastors in the fight against abuse.

Regarding several reports of pastors who abuse women and children, she said: “Unethical and immoral pastors must be brought down as the ones who are using their roles and powers to abuse, as they are tarnishing the image of churches.”

On behalf of the Department of Safety and Liaison, Gregg Jammer said men need to be included in this campaign in order to be kept busy and to be reminded to take care of their children.

He called on the Justice Department to implement harsher sentences for abusers and said that parents must take on their parental responsibilities.

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