On the 19THof February Africa Unite through its youthpeer educators conducted the third and final dialogue session of the Youth for Gender Equality project at Phakama high school in Philippi. This was a very important session as the learners were handed over certificates of participation, after they attended two sessions previously.The session was also attended by Sheryl McLaughllin(the second secretary – Political and Economic AffairsCanadian Embassy South Africa) who came to observe the session.
During the dialogue many aspects and notions of violence directed towards men and women were being interrogated. Learners were able to identify and explain the different forms of gender based violence (GBV) in which there were more familiar with.The following some forms of violence with was identify by the learners:
· Sexual violence
· Sexual exploitation and abuse
· Forced prostitution
· Domestic violence
· Sexual trafficking, forced or early marriage
· Harmful traditional practices (such as genital mutilation)
One of the male students opined ‘’Domestic violence has killed the family structures and children have been made vulnerable as a result of this phenomenon. Most cases go unreported because women do not report such violence. Furthermore when males are victims they do not report because the society will label them as weak’’.
The learners were also given time to discuss the causes and effects of these forms of GBV and how we can use the structures and resources that we have in our communities to fight these challenges.
· ‘’These sessions where an eye opener, they helped me to differentiate gender and sex’’;
· ‘’I did not know how to categories some violent behaviors I see every day, but now it is clear for me that most of them are sexual and gender related’’;
· ‘’I learned that the society can control your gender’’;
· ‘’I learnt that somebody is free to choose your gender’’;
· ‘’For me it was the first time to learn about sexual trafficking’’.
Though the students walked away with their certificates it was also interesting to hear what they had learnt from these three sessions.The principal and teachers were very excited with the programme and promised that they will work with Africa Unite in any way possible.
According to Vukanicommunity newspaper covering township, the latest study on gender based violence estimates released by the Gender and Health Research Council of South Africa.In South Africa the level of non-partner sexual violence is double the global rate, making it the home of sexual and gender based violence in the whole world.
This above statistics show clearly how gender based education is important for the learners and the communities in general. We would like to thank Sheryl McLaughllin for her presents and the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives for making these sessions possible. We also want to thank Phakama High School for hosting us and we look forward to continue with follow up sessions in the near future.
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