Men will confront their demons in a series of facilitated dialogues on gender-based violence and femicide which will be hosted in taverns around Cape Town this week as the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children kicks off on Wednesday, November 25.

The dialogues will be hosted this weekend at 10 taverns in Gugulethu, Delft, and Mitchell’s Plain, starting with a launch event in Gugulethu on Wednesday.

Recognising that only by reaching men and changing the behaviour of those who abuse women and children, the Tavern Dialogues are held in areas with the highest incidence of GBVF as reported by the Minister of Police in the recent release of the crime statistics.

The Tavern Dialogues are facilitated by subject matter experts and are designed to educate and equip men to drive positive change in their communities.

In a relaxed and familiar social setting, men are invited to open up about their experiences and views particularly about what constitutes gender-based violence and how to address it.

The initiative is a partnership between Distell and various formations of liquor traders. Lucky Ntimane, convenor of the liquor trader formations, said: “Taverns are social and economic hubs of township communities and have an important role to play in upholding community values and promoting responsible drinking.

“This includes taking the lead in eliminating gender-based violence and femicide. Our taverns must be safe spaces for positive social interaction and this is why we wanted to take this initiative. With the litany of reports of women and children being hurt and killed by men, it is time for men to take a stand and lead in the fight against GBV and femicide.”

Western Cape Liquor Authority Acting CEO, Advocate Leatitia Petersen, said: “The Western Cape Liquor Authority commends the efforts of the National Liquor Traders Council to reduce the harms caused by liquor in aiming to create safer, more cohesive communities.

“The national lockdown and liquor ban has clearly demonstrated the role that liquor plays in the high rates of violence in this Province. It is crucial that license holders comply with their liquor licence conditions and the National Disaster Management Regulations to ensure responsible liquor trading and consumption.”

Sholto Simms, Distell Regional General Manager for the Western Cape Province, said gender-based violence and femicide perpetuates trauma across generations, resulting in broken homes, shattered lives, and the destruction of human potential.

“GBVF is a multifaceted issue that can be traced back to prevailing attitudes toward women, gender inequality, and feelings of hopelessness and loss of power, among others. For men who have a predisposition for violence, often having been abused themselves, problem drinking can be an aggravating factor.

“The fact that tavern owners are willing to allow these engagements to take place shows real commitment,” Simms said it was very encouraging that the initiative enjoys the support of provincial government structures, including the Department of Community Safety.

“We will achieve much greater impact by working together to eradicate this scourge on our society. Targeted interventions that focus on high-risk groups are the most effective way to achieve positive change.”

The initiative was launched by Distell on August 9, 2020 in Tembisa, with sessions already concluded in Orange Farm, Gauteng Province, Port Elizabeth, and East London in the Eastern Cape, and Umlazi, Inanda, and KwaMashu in KwaZulu-Natal.

“We also call on all South African citizens to not forget about the battle against Covid-19. We need to stay vigilant and ensure basic regulations are followed. Please ensure extreme care and compliance are followed when visiting shopping malls and shopping centres, social grant pay-out venues, places of worship, health care facilities, and  any other social and business gathering facilities,” said Simms

“Let’s exercise extreme care in hygiene and social distance compliance, together we can beat both GBVF and Covid-19.”

Picture: Unsplash

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