Reports have shown that most gender-based violence and femicide cases in South Africa victimize women and children, Human Rights Activist, Tebogo Mokgejane is making sure that men are also taking an active stand in the fight against women abuse.
A non-governmental organization called the Taung Men Against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Forum is fighting gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) in the North West. The forum also helps gender-based violence victims avoid secondary victimisation and access psychological support services.
Mokgejane who is also the founder and chairperson of the organisation said they help victims of rape, assault and other forms of GBV. He said the 131-member organisation facilitates ongoing counselling sessions with a Department of Social Development (DSD) counsellor for GBV victims.
“Victims of GBV go through a traumatic experience and we help them access the sort of psychological services that are often not available on a daily basis. The DSD often has only one session for GBV victims so we get them to offer ongoing counselling services. People who are victims often find it difficult to open up the first time so the ongoing sessions allow people the chance to speak,” said Mokgejane.
He added that the continuous counselling sessions help GBV victims prepare for the court process that they will have to go through. “Testifying in court requires that a witness recall details of a trauma that they would often like to forget.
“We put pressure on law enforcement to thoroughly investigate GBV cases and arrest perpetrators. When suspects appear in court, we apply to be friends of the court (amicus curiae) on behalf of the victim. We use this platform to campaign against the granting of bail,” noted Mokgejane.
Furthermore, the NGO organises men in 121 villages to go and support GBV victims in court and organizes transportation for a GBV victims to and from court and police stations. “A lot of cases are thrown out of court because the victims are not able to afford the transport costs and as an organisation, we make sure that they are always able to make it there,” said Mokgejane.
If you need assistance, find a representative of the NPO in one of the villages it is active in, or visit its Facebook page: Taung Men Against Gender Based Violence and Femicide Forum.