Did you say yes, when you really meant no?

The outcomes of Plenary 2, highlighting Prevention of Sexual Violence at the SVRI Forum 2011 in Cape Town today lead to this question,” When does yes mean yes and no mean no?”

The average age for boys in rural areas of South Africa to start raping is 17 years old and in most societies where poverty is high this means that young boys have more than 41 hours per week to hang out in groups/gangs to exchange their own ideas of masculinity and ignore the meaning of ‘consent’.

So what causes boys and men to rape? Sexual abuse in the family, drugs and alcohol, gangs, witnessing IPV in the home, psychological distress, suicide and less community connectedness. However there is not enough evidence to prove there is a definite connection between youths witnessing violence and actually committing the crimes themselves. Bystander attitudes towards rape are just as vengeful as the perpetrators actions and based on studies there is no difference between the perpetrators of child and adult sexual abuse.

What needs to be done? Parenting tactics and interventions needs to be introduced to communities and tailored to different cultures to improve parent-child relationships. Steps to preventing childhood trauma and strengthening family environments, including support for GBV prevention and positive parenting needs to be taken.

Building gender inequity – work with men/boys and women/girls; changing social norms on gender; increased activities for teenage boys; dealing with substance abuse; addressing poverty and social inequality and broader structural issues; and criminal justice and victim responses. 

Conference organisers will post daily summaries of the conference on the SVRI Facebook page.
If you would like to learn more about the SVRI, visit: www.svri.org. For any question or queries about us or the Forum, contact: svri@mrc.ac.za.

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