Residents march against gender violence

Standing up against women and child abuse, about 400 people took part in a march in Strandfontein, which organisers had hoped to attract at least 1 000 supporters.

Residents gathered in Spine Road for the 1000 Real Men march on Sunday June 11, with the official ceremony being held at Seaview Baptist church. Thereafter they marched to Strandfontein police station.

Among those at the event were Community Safety MEC Dan Plato, Strandfontein police station commander Captain David Malong, Strandfontein Community Police Forum chairwoman Sandy Schuter Jacobs, Sub-council 23 chairman and councillor for Ward 43 Elton Jansen, as well as residents and members of the community safety structures such as the neighbourhood watches.

The event was organised by Strandfontein resident Mario Oostendurp, who is the founder of the Proudly Strandfontein civic organisation. He said the aim of the event was to create awareness and education around violence, abuse, rape and murder of women.

“Over the past few months there have been killings of children and women, by men. That is why we should create awareness around this issue and report cases,” he said.

Mr Plato encouraged churches, ministers and faith-based organisations to talk about these issues.

“Men need to know that it is not okay to abuse a woman or a girl. They need to know what their role is in society and know how to behave appropriately,” he said.

Mr Plato also urged parents to talk to their boys and teach them to respect women. “We find that men today raise their voices and hit women. They become aggressive and think that is normal behaviour. As a community this issue of abuse needs to be address and we can do this through programmes and workshops for men,” he said.

Strandfontein resident Alfred Harris, who spoke at the event, called on men to set an example for their children. “There are three Ps men should remember – peace, protector and perpetrator. You need to be the protector in the home, keep violence from coming into the home. You need to protect the family from harm and not be the violence that hurts them emotionally, verbally or physically.

“Men need to be role models, need to create a sense of peace in the home. Make the family feel good about themselves, be happy and love each other. Men should not be the perperators, their wife and family should not be scared of him, but love him as he loves them,” he said.

Ms Jacobs agreed with Mr Plato and encouraged residents to join the structures and take their streets back. “We often get calls of abuse, rape and murders. As residents we have had enough, we have a great team of volunteers on the structure and we are encouraging residents to join the committees and structures,” she said.

Captain Malong went through the different types of abuse and explained how to report a case of abuse at the police station. “If you come with an abuse case to the station, the members must help you. Do not let them tell you that you must first go to the court. Police members must assist you,” he said.

Check out the video on the Plainsman’s Facebook page.