CAPE TOWN. – Andrew Junor, chair of the Representative Council of Learners at SACS, believes that toxic masculinity is one of the root causes of gender-based violence and he sees traces of that toxic masculinity in boy schools as well as many co-ed schools in South Africa.
The matric learner at SACS also believes that much more attention should be given at the school level in teaching children the right values to combat gender-based violence. There is much more attention given to teaching children in schools about substance abuse, peer pressure, and stress management than on gender-based violence, he says.
“More attention is needed to speak about gender-based violence. Gender-based violence is prevalent everywhere in South Africa. The root of the problem and how to address it, must be drilled into learners at a very young age,” said Junor.
Junor not only talks about gender-based violence, but he has put his money where his mouth is, and he helped to inspire fellow learners at SACS, friends, and relatives to participate in a campaign in August 2021 to raise funds to support 1000 Women Trust’s campaigns against gender-based violence, as well as trauma training. During just one day, the Representative Council of Learners, spearheaded by Junor, raised R9000 to support 1000 Women Trust.
“I have heard about 1000 Women Trust and I believe they would make a big difference in combating GBV.
“I discussed the campaign and that we are raising funds for 1000 Women Trust with my headmaster, Brendan Grant, a day before the campaign started, and he came on board immediately. He was very excited about the campaign and found it amazing that we would support 1000 Women Trust and the objective to support the fight against GBV,” said Junor.
1000 Women Trust has been and still is a leading women-led organization in South Africa in shaping the discourse with men and women on how to share vital practical values and skills with their teenage boys on respect for girls and women and on practicing non-violence while accepting gender equality.
Talking to Boys – part of the national #MakeTime-campaign ran by 1000 Women Trust – was introduced to encourage parents to invest time every week to shape the conduct of their pre-school, primary school, and secondary schoolboys.
Parents need to teach their sons and daughters that no means no and yes means yes. You must talk to your teen about kissing and sex and that both parties must give consent. Talk about what consent means.
It is important to stress that your teen is in control of their body and that no one is allowed to touch them without their permission. Keep having these conversations as it will show your teen that it is important to give and receive consent from their partners.
It is important that your teenage sons and daughters derive their self-image not from their performance or from what other people think of them but by your continuous affirmation.
Talk to them about bullying, what it is and what to do if they feel they are bullied. Discuss different scenarios and equip them with the knowledge and skills to assert themselves. Encourage them to speak out when they are bullied, to be unafraid to share their stories of bullying with their responsible teachers at school or with you at home.
Teach your kids that if you do not accept your body and often speak negatively about yourself, it will set an example of a negative self-image for your child. Accept your body and speak positive words about yourself. Also, respect the body of the opposite sex, and do not touch the body of anybody else without consent.
Explain to them that even though they may experience anger or frustration, it is not okay to be less kind or less respectful to those around them.
Talk to your teen about what to do if someone including a teacher, pastor, family friend or relative touched them, spoke to them or suggested something that made them feel uncomfortable.
The Talking-to-Boys initiative can be accessed on www.maketime.org.za and gives comprehensive detail on how parents can share important values with their children aged 0-6, 7-13, and 13-19 on respect, boundaries, and consent in dealing in a mature way with members of the opposite sex.
The 1000 Women Trust wants to invest in boys while they are young to help them, respect women, now and in the future. For more of our life-changing initiatives, please follow us on social media, support our initiatives with time, money or goods. We can only continue the work if we receive much-needed support.