NGO empowers young boys to tackle gender-based violence in their communities

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Young boys will be enrolled in Hero Empathy and Active Bystander programmes. Photo: Getty Images
Young boys will be enrolled in Hero Empathy and Active Bystander programmes. Photo: Getty Images
Per-Anders Pettersson
  • Statistics show an increase in the killing of woman in South Africa
  • Action Break Silence offers self-defence workshops to women and girls while educating men and boys about toxic masculinity

Crime statistics released by the South African Police Services (SAPS) for January and March 2021 revealed at least 9 518 rape cases in our country.

Even though President Cyril Ramaphosa launched new laws and emergency response action plans for South Africa, there is not much improvement where gender-based violence is concerned.

Nonetheless, organisations like Action Break Silence are working to curb the spread of gender-based violence in our country.

This non-profit organisation aims to provide workshops to dispel the harmful notion that gender-based violence is a woman's issue, through a whole school approach developed by AVA, an independent charity working across the UK. 

These workshops tackle gender inequality and toxic masculinity topics and work to prevent it at the grassroots level.

Read: Inspired by her own experiences, local gender activist opens a shelter for survivors of domestic violence

Action Break Silence believes that an inclusive and multi-prolonged approach must be used to reduce violence against women and children.

This approach includes offering a 16-hour Primary school programme delivered to boys and girls in Grades 5 and 6 over two years.

Boys are encouraged to join the Hero Empathy and Active Bystander programmes, while girls are enrolled in the Empowerment Through Self Defence and Active Bystander programme.

All of this is done so that boys develop empathy towards women. Through these programmes, boys will be empowered to become active bystanders to tackle gender-based violence in their communities.

"Schools and the wider community can implement structural changes to foster a more sensitive, compassionate and gender-equal learning and living environment, free from GBV. However, the voice of the youth is not traditionally acknowledged or respected within communities," says Debi Steven, Founder and CEO of this NGO.

This NGO offers Empowerment Through Self-Defence workshops for women and girls and Toxic Masculinity Workshops for men and boys to Secondary Schools with corporate clients raising funds to deliver the Primary School programme free of charge in economically challenged communities.

For more information on these workshops, visit the website here.


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