The Western Cape Government (WCG) is continuing to take its “Break the Cycle” media campaign into communities. This time around it was Delft, one of the country’s biggest crime hotspots, that has seen targeted interventions by the WCG.
Among the varied and complex causes of gender-based violence (GBV), are intergenerational abuse and sustained exposure to violence. This spans race, income bracket, and geographic location.
Gender-based violence is often described as a cycle of abuse, as individuals who were abused as children, may become abusive themselves.
This media campaign, which has been broadcast on multiple platforms, including radio and television, follows the journey of a man who was exposed to violence and abuse in his home as a child. Recognising that he’s about to repeat the cycle with his own family, he seeks help.
Premier Alan Winde, and provincial GBV lead, Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, launched the campaign in Khayelitsha in January.
On 22 March 2023, Minister Fernandez and Minister of Police Oversight and Community Safety, Reagen Allen, spoke to residents, as well as current and past participants of the Cape Outdoor Adventure Service and Training (COAST) NPO about the campaign. COAST is an NPO funded by the provincial Department of Social Development, which teaches young men life skills and offers support programmes to schools in Delft, Bonteheuwel and Fisantekraal.
“We call these discussions ‘Courageous Conversations’ for a reason. It is not easy speaking about trauma and how to break the cycle of violence in homes. We have taken this video to various communities, from Khayelitsha to Leeu Gamka to Delft, and we will continue. My hope is that those who participate in the campaign will go on to share the information and available resources with others. We wish to spark more of these conversations, because if we all do our bit to root out violence in the spaces we occupy, the Western Cape will be a safer place,” said Minister Fernandez.
DSD social workers were also present to provide psychosocial support, where needed.
Delft residents – especially the men – were keen to share their insights after watching the “Break the Cycle” video and listening to the radio advert.
Shafiek Johannes said, “If the tables were turned in the video and it was a woman being the abuser, that little child who sees it will still be traumatized. Violence is traumatizing, regardless of who does it. But we must acknowledge there are many instances of men being abused, and these men are also vulnerable and need support.”
Others shared how socio-economic circumstances can lead to violence.
Peter Adams: “When you grow up in an abusive home, you walk around with a lot of anger, and this anger can grow. Couple that with the circumstances in our communities, like unemployment…these are the things our young people are walking around with.”
Minister Allen said engagements like these are vital to changing the narrative of an area like Delft, known for its high crime rate: “The crime statistics for the third quarter of the 2022/23 financial year paint a bleak picture, with Delft having the third highest murder rate in South Africa, and the second highest in the Western Cape. The statistics also show that throughout the province, the grievous bodily assaults on women increased by 16,1% or 407 more incidents, when compared to the same period of the previous year.”
“The earlier we can assist young men and women to understand that GBV is never a solution to any issue, the sooner we can break the cycle of abuse and assault that is seen in various communities.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic Of South Africa: Western Cape Provincial Government.