Monna Tsheba: a voice for men’s rights
Gender equality is not a zero-sum game. This is the message that the final-year Social Work students of the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU Vaal) are conveying through their community-based ‘Monna Tseba: Men’s rights are human rights’ Project. The project forms part of an internship students are completing under the auspices of the Department of Student Counselling and Development (SCD).
According to Dieketseng Ramaseli – one of the final year students taking part in the project, the focus on men’s rights is motivated by the fact that men’s rights seemingly do not enjoy equal attention in terms of social concerns such as rape, domestic violence, parenting, insufficient child support, custodianship (after divorce) and sexism. “Often men are portrayed as being strong, masculine and unaffected, and this lead to them being discriminated against. In light of these stereotypes men may find it difficult – even embarrassing, to report abuse (be it physically, sexually or any other form of abuse) because they fear bias and ridicule,” explains Dieketseng. The project will not only address awareness but also create a platform from where information can be shared between individuals and the community.
There are real and important issues effecting men in our society
Research shows an increasing rate of mental health and suicide, addiction, and a lack of services for abuse – especially when it comes to men. Stereotypes of what it means to be ‘a man’ can lead to harmful notions of masculinity, that at best constrain the ways men feel they can express their emotions, and at worst, lead to cycles of violence and depression. These are real problems, and do need to be addressed. Dieketseng explains that the project does not intend to downplay women’s struggles and rights, but rather to highlight the plight of men suffering at the hand of abuse and victimisation.
Time for the community to take hands to ensure change
The Social Work students will be presenting an information day on 17 August 2016 as part of the roll-out of their project. The information sessions will take place at Vergelegen Hall and will commence at 12:00.
The following guest speakers will take to the stage:
- Mr Alwyn Burger, Community Development Specialist
- Ms Melanie van Aswegen Admitted Attorney
- Mr Rees Mann, Founder of SAMSOSA (South African Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse)
- Sr Mapete Rasoasi, Campus Clinician
Topics under discussion will include: domestic violence, sexual violence, reproductive choice, DNA testing, men’s health, divorce, care and contact.