‘Man You Rock’ gives essential twist to 16 days of activism against gender-based violence – SAPeople

“Man You Rock” gives a vital twist to 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. Photo: Man You Rock on Facebook

As the majority of South Africa focuses on women and children during these 16 days of activism against GBV, Fikile Cele and Youandi Gilain will focus on boys and men this year. “We have failed to stand up for our boys and men who also suffer from abuse and mental health issues, we cannot support one but not the other,” they say. Violence against men deserves attention.

Fikile Cele (22) is a model, motivational speaker, MC, influencer, life coach and ambassador of Baby Savers South Africa. She loves children and their rights, empowering them to see their own potential and to always believe and love themselves. His message to the world is that everyone should feel that they are “enough”, no matter where they come from or their circumstances.

Youandi Gilain (38) is a director of Isiaiah 54 Children’s Sanctuary home for abused and abandoned babies and children in Durban, the founder and advisor of Open arms SA who is a nationwide online helpdesk for pregnant girls / women and biological mothers in crisis and the counselor of Baby Savers South Africa. She has a big heart for people and encourages them to be the best part of themselves and to believe in who they are and are meant to be.

They both discovered that there was a gap in the support of boys and men regarding abuse and mental health issues. So this year they have combined their powers to raise awareness during these 16 days.

Women suffer a lot of abuse, gender inequalities, etc., not only nationally but globally. We are in crisis, which generally makes women more vulnerable than men. But that doesn’t mean we have to forget about our boys and our men, say Fikile and Youandi.

We created a culture of competitiveness and aggression, where we silenced men and simply told them to fix themselves, without tools.

Society tells boys from an early age to adulthood that ‘boys don’t cry’, ‘lift up’, ‘don’t be such a baby’ when they show emotions.

Nobody wants to talk about it …

Abuse against women and men is totally different, but it is worth addressing. The sad thing is that there are hardly any statistics on male violence, especially sexual violence, because it is a hidden problem and no one wants to talk about it. We are all too afraid to approach and raise awareness as this could distract from the GBV (gender-based violence) crisis against our daughters and women. This needs to change, our boys and men need to know that they matter too, that their pain is real and that they deserve to be heard and helped.

Boys and men report virtually no abuse due to the cultural expectation of masculinity, such as men being stronger than women, stigma, isolation, ridicule, shame, not being believed, guilt, homophobic reactions, loss of access to children, etc.

The long-term impacts of gender-based violence on boys and men include:
Depression, suicide, STIs, violence, drug addiction which then lead to the crisis we face as women. If we are to end the abuse against our women and children, it is time to include our boys and men and change the way we raise and treat them. For too long we have raised boys to broken men and then expected them to be whole.

For too long we’ve raised boys to broken men

Youandi and Fikile think it’s time to change 16 days of activism against GBV. We cannot expect boys and men to understand the movement to protect women and girls if we are not prepared to listen to their feelings and emotions.

It is a fact that if you allow people to express their emotions and feelings, it is easier to cope with them and those of others. This translates into better communication and of course people who feel heard, understood and supported.

Our goal is to give voice to boys and men

“This year we will focus on the abuse and mental health of our boys and men.
We will create an online podium where we will share stories, information and make it interactive for our men. Our aim is to give a voice to boys and men, allowing them to share their feelings and stories, where they will be heard, empowered, encouraged and supported and to create a network of people and organizations capable of helping boys. and men in their crisis, ”say Fikile and Youandi.

“We will do this through our social media pages on Facebook and Instagram called the man you rock. Join us as we travel with our boys and men, you can share your story with us anonymously, interact and show your support in the comments section or let us know how you or your organization can help our boys and men. men when they need it most. “


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