Extreme Violence Is A Result Of Toxic Masculinity

By Alvine Kapitako


Society conditions men to bottle up their emotions instead of expressing themselves in a healthy way, explained Delene van Dyk – a psychosexual educator from South Africa – during a three-day workshop aimed at preventing the stigma and discrimination experienced by key populations under the Key Populations Representation, Evidence and Advocacy for Change in Health (KP REACH) regional programme, in which SAfAIDS is the technical lead.

The recently held Harare Agricultural show witnessed SAfAIDS showcasing some of its men’s programmes as a way of reaching more men with its interventions. Through one of the SAfAIDS programmes Men as partners/Women as partners (WasP/MasP) programme which addresses harmful cultural practices that perpetuate the abuse of women and girls, men were engaged on the role they should play in ending any form of violence against women and girls

Concerned mothers from Harare’s Mabvuku suburb approached SAfAIDS staff during the Harare Agricultural Show seeking advice on curbing risky sexual behaviours among adolescents in their community. They reported that nude parties have become a regular occurrence in the area and they fear for their children’s health and welfare.

The old adage ‘give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’, aptly sums up Nyarai Kaliati’s life. A mother of three, Nyarai used to rely on her husband for her family’s upkeep. Patriarchy taught her to submit to her husband and she  expected him to provide everything for the family. But Nyarai had never really accepted that situation and often argued with her husband, as she wanted him to account for every cent he earned. This did not go down well with him.

Across countries, key populations are between 10 and 50 times in greater risk of HIV infection compared to other adults and they are pushed to the fringes of society by stigma and the criminalisation of same-sex relationships, drug use and sex work. They are marginalised in the health sector with their access to HIV services being limited. As such, SAfAIDS conducted the Justice Sector KP REACH Regional Dialogue in South Africa with eight champions drawn from different justice sectors including representatives from the High Court, law lecturers, magistrates and chief state from Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The Justice Sector Dialogue intends to further prepare and gauge the Political, Religious and Traditional leaders’ knowledge, confidence and readiness to fight for the reduction in stigma and discrimination which are a barrier to HIV prevention, testing and treatment services for KPs.