Overcoming Violence

Stories of Gender Based Violence

Joe Mashilo

Activist

Joe Mashilo

In a pub in a township in South Africa men have a weekly meeting to talk about what it means to be a man. Through discussion-platforms for men we may create a new positive masculinity and stop gender based violence, thinks Joe, the ambassador of the project.

Gender based violence is a widespread problem in the township, and it is aggravated by unemployment and abuse of alcohol. Trough the project Men as Peacemakers, Southern Africa Catholic Bishiops´ conference (SACBC) try to involve men in the fight against gender based violence. As project ambassador in Uberton Township, Joe organizes so called “tavern interventions” in pubs in the area, where men get the opportunity to discuss the male gender role. – To involve men in the conversation we have to meet them where they are, he states.

Listeners to the pub-dialogue
Listeners to the pub-dialogue

The zeal of the program is to encourage more men to engage against gender based violence. –We want men to be involved in an active way and condemn actions that lead to violence, Joe says, and he thinks it is crucial to get men involved in a dialogue if there shall be any chance of terminating gender based violence. The topics for discussion are decided by the members; the examples include adultery, abuse of alcohol, personal economy and manhood. – It is important to talk about the topics that may be the causes of violence, Joe says.

A pub-guest shares his reflections around the male gender role.
A pub-guest shares his reflections around the male gender role.

Through the dialogues SACBC tries to create a more positive masculinity. Joe thinks there is a link between the socially construed manhood and gender based violence. – The understanding of the male role in South Africa, is that men hit. We want men to say “No, we are not like that, we are actually against abuse”, he finishes.

Joe engages in a chat with one of the pub-guests after the meeting.
Joe engages in a chat with one of the pub-guests after the meeting.
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