The Mall of the South Takes a Stand Against Gender-Based Violence

The Mall of the South Takes a Stand Against Gender-Based Violence

The Mall of the South Takes a Stand Against Gender-Based Violence

Mall of the South’s #Holler initiative is tackling Gender-Based Violence (GBV) head on in the hopes of raising awareness, encouraging dialogue, and fostering change in the fight against this deeply concerning societal issue.

 It is a shocking reality in South Africa that GBV is a common occurrence, deeply ingrained in the country’s social fabric. In the first three months of 2023, 10 512 women were raped and 969 women were killed. While we have almost daily reports of GBV against women and children, GBV also affects men which often remains largely unreported meaning that we may not realise how often it occurs.

 In KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape , its reported that 9.6% of men have reported being sexually victimised by another male .  A rape is said to occur every 17 seconds in South Africa where 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men in the country are raped. However, because men are more inclined to suffer in silence due to the stigma, the number of male victims across the board could be much higher. These numbers are cause for concern and demand attention, and the Mall of the South has stepped up as a strong community voice and advocate for the cause.

 For the past three years Mall of the South has been running its #Holler initiative to raise awareness around GBV, and this year’s event was a resounding success once again. Held on 26 August, and themed as “Taking Your Power Back”, survivors of GBV were given a platform to share their stories of overcoming abuse and turning their experiences into positive change.

 The 2023 event, held as a panel discussion, also placed a firm focus on youth, in particular high school learners whose engagement with the panel became the highlight of the day. Four learners who are the JNR Commissioners of the Mondeor SAPS and who run special Peer Education programmes were special guests for event. Through these four JNR Commissioners, learners from their respective high schools were invited to write and submit short essays on the impact GBV is having on their communities and what can be done to fight it. From the entries received, 12 were chosen and these young advocates were also invited to join the event as special guests.

 “Every day we hear a new horror story with GBV at its core”, says, Hester SmithCentre Manager at Mall of the South. “This year we wanted to focus on the younger generation and the learners who shared the day with us had powerful engagements with the panel. The discussions around what role they can play on peer level to raise awareness on GBV, how to support peers who have been victims of sexual abuse, peer mental health and the state of policing in the country when it comes to crime are hopefully arming them the knowledge to protect themselves and their peers as they grow into young adults.”

 The panel featured speakers who have been affected by GBV who shared their personal testimonies of resilience and empowerment, along with victim support advocates that included members of the Mondeor SAPS, ToughLove SA and the Mondeor Victim Support Unit who provided guidance on Victim Support services. The panel even included a legal representative. Collectively These speakers provided education and insights into all facets of GBV issues, shedding light on the challenges faced by survivors and the broader community.

Tags: local news

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