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#Women’sMonth: Men should help change narrative on violence against women – Prof Solomon
2017-08-23

 Description: Issues affecting women Tags: Prof Hussein Solomon, Department of Political Studies, violence against women, Gender and Sexual Equity Office, Women’s Month, Embrace a Sister, Boko Haram 

The panellists at a discussion on Issues
Affecting Women
at the UFS Sasol library were
Zane Thela, Head of the Gender and Sexual
Equity Office Programme, Pumla Mgobhozi, founding
member of Embrace a Sister, and
Prof Prof Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor in the
Department of Political Studies.
From the left, are: Thela, Mgobhozi, Prof Solomon,
and Betsy Eister, Director: Library and
Information Services.
Photo: Jóhann Thormählen

The fight to eradicate violence against women is one which men should be involved in. According to Prof Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor in the Department of Political Studies at the University of the Free State (UFS), men have to help change the narrative of physical abuse and sexual violence which they perpetrate against women and children.
“Let them (men who might be offended by the #men are trash) reject violent masculinities, and in the process let them redefine what being a man is about. Let fathers teach their sons that no means no.”

Panel discussion on Issues Affecting Women
Prof Solomon was part of a panel discussion on Issues Affecting Women, organised by the UFS library, in collaboration with the Gender and Sexual Equity Office and Embrace a Sister, as part of Women’s Month in the UFS Sasol library on 3 August 2017.
The other panellists were Zane Thela, Head of the Gender and Sexual Equity Office Programme at the UFS, and Pumla Mgobhozi, founding member of Embrace a Sister. Prof Solomon’s book Understanding Boko Haram, focusing on the kidnapping of 200 young women in Nigeria was also launched.

Don’t accept things as they are
Prof Solomon says that responses by the SA government have no credibility and a lot more could be done. “What is clear is that outrage alone will not end this violence.”
Even at SA universities there are many examples of how women are mistreated. “We need to ask: What more can we do as a university to assist these (female) students.”

According to Thela, it is sad that these issues are only talked about seasonally (like during Women’s Month).
Thela says people should raise their children differently in order to change the narrative. “Then men won’t think they have to prove themselves to women.”
And we shouldn’t accept things as they are: “The most dangerous statement in society is to say: ‘It has always been done this way."

Role of women in their fate
Mgobhozi emphasised that women have a hand in the way they are being seen and treated in society. She therefore asked: “What is the role of women in making sure that we dismantle patriarchy”.
According to her women, especially black women, should dismantle the status quo. She added that cultures and parents often influence the way women are seen.
“Women should fight these social problems together,” Mgobhozi says.

 

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