Let’s be the role models our boys need

2009-11-28 10:54

THANK you to Babalwa Shota and Lumka Oliphant for such ­refreshing honesty, courage and sincerity in sharing their pain with us in “We said ‘no’ to abuse” (City Press, November 22). It must have been an agonising and difficult decision to make, ­especially for their families.

Domestic violence is a sensitive and personal matter, hence it is shrouded in secrecy even within families. The truth is hidden ­underneath the smiles and hugs.

This explains why it is hardly ­ever reported to the police, let alone to the newspapers. The ­victim is not just the woman who takes the punches but the ­children too. They are part of the ­collateral damage; the real scars are not ­visible to the naked eye.

It is sad but true that the victim is always blamed by both families as the cause of her misery. This reflects the patriarchal nature of our society. For the women, the struggle for total emancipation is just beginning. Can this scourge be eradicated? I wish the answers were that simple.

It is a multifaceted conundrum. The abuser is a product of society and family. He epitomises the character of our society. As long as our families and communities believe the man is the God of the house, our attempts are in vain.

A radical shift in mindset is ­required in order to build a new nation founded on the principles of love, respect and tolerance of each other. Teach our children the ability to reason instead of ­resorting to violence to solve problems. The young boy of today needs new role models. Where will he get them?

Dr Lucas Ntyintyane
Cape Town

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