Gender-based violence (GBV) has emotional consequences for both its survivors and for the perpetrators. When Granny Matebalo Thabana’s son disappeared without a word, leaving his family of five behind she, her daughter-in-law and the children were left devastated. Granny Matebalo and her daughter-in-law were numbed, while the children felt abandoned and unworthy of love and affection.
Living in Lekhalong Ha Qamo community under Phelisanang Bophelong (BP), a SAfAIDS partner in Lesotho, Granny Matebalo is a member of the Men/ Women As Protectors (MasP/ WasP) clubs that aim to create men and women who are committed to ending GBV) child marriage and reducing HIV infection and other negative and harmful practices that perpetuate the abuse of women and girls in the community.
‘’I had almost given up on looking for him [her son] but the support I got from the WasP club on GBV and sexual health information encouraged me. I realised that his disappearance was emotionally and psychologically damaging all those he had left behind. My daughter-in-law lost her confidence and dignity, as rumours circulated that her husband had run away from her. So I supported her and we reported the matter to the police Child Gender Protection Unit (CGPU) department that specialises in GBV cases against women and children.
“We eventually found out where my son was and he was called to a hearing. He eventually realised his error and came back to his family. Sometimes men get carried away and feel they can enjoy life outside marriage better.
“I am very happy that l finally convinced him to join the MasP club, which he is now taking the lead in helping transform other men in our community. The Phelisanang Bophelong and SAfAIDS are doing a remarkable job in addressing GBV issues in our homes.’’