‘Men need to be more vocal in #BringBackOurGirls campaign’

2014-05-15 17:49

Patriarchy is partly to blame for the abduction of more than 200 Nigerian girls, the South African National AIDS Council’s (Sanac) National Men’s Sector has said.

“This dastardly act is another indication of how the system of patriarchy continues to give men a sense of power that sees women and girls as tools for use as they wish in their ‘power’ struggles,” said Sanac’s National Men’s Sector today in a joint statement with the Brothers for Life Campaign.

These organisations want more men to be involved in campaigns geared at returning the girls to their families. “We urge men to take a more vocal role in these efforts. It is time for all of us to stand together,” read the statement.

Bafana Khumalo, national chairperson of Sanac’s National Men’s Sector, said as an organisation they were “very aggrieved by the matter”. He said that although a sizeable number of men had “aligned” themselves with the campaign, the numbers were too small.

“As men, we need to come together. This is not an issue for our mothers or sisters, it is also our issue,” he said.

It’s been more than 30 days since the girls were abducted from a boarding school in the northern town of Chibok, Nigeria.

It was revealed a few days after the abduction that Islam extremist group Boko Haram was responsible for the girls’ abduction.

Sanac National Men’s Sector and the Brothers for Life Campaign have called on the South African government and the international community to “provide all the necessary support to the Nigerian government”, and have asked world leaders to expend the same amount of resources “as were deployed in the search for the missing Malaysian plane”.

Earlier today, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said South Africa had been in “constant communication” through diplomatic channels with Nigeria over the abduction of the 200 girls.

Last week, US surveillance planes began flying missions over a remote area of Nigeria in hopes of locating the teenage girls.

In an effort to put more pressure on the Nigerian government to act more quickly, ordinary citizens around the world have engaged in rallies in Nigeria, New York, London, Joburg and Cape Town – with placards that read Bring Back Our Girls.

“Men need to show up too. If there is a protest outside of the Nigerian consulate in your country, get there,” read the statement.

On Monday, Boko Haram released an almost 30-minute long video, showing more than 100 girls in Muslim dress and reading from the Qur’an.

In the video, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau hinted at the possible release of the girls in exchange for jailed militants.

The Nigerian government has indicated its willingness to negotiate with Boko Haram, saying the “window of negotiation is still open”.

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