Men march for peace

2017-06-13 06:03
Although short of their 1000 men target, the group still took to the street to make their voices heard.PHOTO: Samantha lee

Although short of their 1000 men target, the group still took to the street to make their voices heard.PHOTO: Samantha lee

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“I was forced to do something.”

These were the words of organiser Mario Oorstendurp who called on men in the community to stand together against abuse on Sunday.

“It is important that we get together like this now, before we need to get together to look for a body or attend the funeral of one of our own,” he added.

Oorstendurp heads up Proudly Strandfontein, who hosted the #1000menmarch on Sunday.

Weather soon resulted in the march being called off with a human chain in its place.

Although 600 men shy of their target, Oorstendurp says it was still important for them to make their voices heard.

This was reiterated by several other speakers invited to address the residents.

MEC for Community Safety, Dan Plato applauded the efforts of the organisers in taking a stand against violence.

“We cannot wait for women’s month and we cannot wait for 16 days of activism,” he says.

He added that the issue was not only happening on the Cape flats or in poor areas but all over the Western Cape.

“This is a topic we need to talk about almost everyday. Things that are happening in the Western Cape, the continued abduction, rape, killing and then hiding or destroying of bodies in one or other way,” he says.

Oorstendurp says there was an outcry following a number of incidents.

“There was a need in Strandfontein to get some awareness going around domestic abuse and child abuse. We read the newspapers and see the level of violence directed especially at women and children,” says ­Oorstendurp.

“Domestic violence is something that happens behind closed doors. We hear it and we do nothing about it. And one of the reasons is that we are ignorant as to our responsibilities and the process of reporting those crimes and I think at this point in time we must do something before it gets out of hand.”

He added that everyone in the room probably knew someone who was or is being abused.

He added that residents had a role to play.

“We also know the abuser so we also need to take blame because we are not doing anything about it. We think we live in a safe community but those things happen here too,” he says.

Plato says this is a societal issue and what shocks him most is that a number of cases involve people known to the families.

“The learnered people, criminologists and phsycologists have to come up with answers. What goes on in the mind of a man. It is men doing the raping. It is men doing the killing. What is going on or wrong in the mind of men who do these crimes,” says Plato.

“We don’t have the answers on how best to address this,” says Plato

Sandy Schuter, Community Policing Forum chairperson, further challenged everyone to stand up and report abuse.

She says there should be equal rights and protection for men as well, who are also being abused.

“There are men in Strandfontein who are being stabbed and beaten and sworn at by their wives. This is the type of behaviour that our children replicate in the schools as well, including the crèche and that is why the police are continuously being called out to the schools to address bullying situations,” she says.

Strandfontein station commander Captain David Malong says the march was ­important.

“All great journeys start with one step. We have to take this violence against women and children seriously and it will have to start with one step,” he says.

He further urged residents to go to the police to report domestic violence and says police must take your case and not refer you to the courts first.

Other speakers included ward 43 councillor Elton Jansen, Alfred Harris, Jason Davis and Samantha Apollis.

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