My friend and perhaps “cause mentor”, Justin Foxton, sent me an article from the Mail & Guardian which highlights issues of men, violence and sexuality.
According to a 2009 Medical Research Council study conducted among men between the ages of 18 and 49 in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, one in 10 South African men have been forced into sex by another man.
The article quotes American-based co-author of the study, Kristin Dunkle as saying: “South Africa’s biggest problem was a misguided sense of masculinity.”
It’s those words: “South Africa’s biggest problem was a misguided sense of masculinity”, which ring true for me. If the problem causing our very high levels of rape and abuse is a misguided sense of masculinity, then surely we need to confront our masculinity?
The website www.rape.co.za quotes a new study conducted by the Medical Research Council which says that over 25% of South African men have raped someone. Of those surveyed, nearly half said they had raped more than one person. Apparently rape is more about a sense of power than it is about sex. So what all this tells me is that as men we are feeling disempowered and we are trying to regain a sense of power in the worst possible way.
I am not quoting all this information in an attempt to protest and demand that something be done. I am sharing this information so that you and I can be equipped to do something.
Here are 4 thoughts I have:
- We need to redefine our masculinity through a God honoring approach to the divine truth that all of us “are created in the image of God”. I am not talking about a huge gathering that challenges us to be better men, as good as those events may be. I am talking about a groundswell of men challenging themselves and their attitudes towards masculinity.
- We need to mentor young men with regards to their masculinity. You can find out more about mentorship via this link mentoring.
- We need to speak up for the dignity of all people and confront the abuse of women and children. You can report woman abuse to the police on 10111 or call the gender violence helpline on 0800 150 150. You can report child abuse to the police or contact Childline on 0800 055 555.
- If you are reading this, and you have abused/are abusing a woman emotionally, verbally, mentally or physically, I encourage you to seek immediate help. You can receive counseling by calling 0800 150 150.
Let’s do something to help men gain a better view of masculinity!
Today is Human Rights Day , make it count
Please note, all these phone numbers are for South Africa. If you are reading this overseas, please check your local numbers.