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Time to man-up:  Human Rights violations rooted in toxic and wounded masculinity must end.

Teaching and restoring positive masculinity in SA are crucial to promoting and realising human rights for all!

As South Africa (SA) observes Human Rights Day, a non-profit company (NPC) calls for the need to promote positive masculinity as a solution to stop gender-based violence (GBV), crime, and fatherlessness in the nation. While commemorating the sacrifices made by individuals striving for equal rights, it is important to acknowledge that many human rights violations are rooted in false and wounded masculinity, the organisation says.

Despite SA’s constitution being one of the most progressive in the world, the country grapples with alarming rates of rape, GBV and rampant violent crimes against children. Additionally, fatherless, and child-headed households present a stark contradiction to the ideals of democracy over the past three decades.

“No boy is born an abuser; something goes wrong on the journey from boy to man and that’s what we need to fix. Modelling and teaching healthy masculinity helps men become role models for younger generations, stopping the cycle of GBV at its roots,” says Craig Wilkinson, founder and CEO of Father A Nation, an NPC working to stop GBV by restoring and equipping men to be nation-builders, fathers and role models.

South Africa needs a shift in focus.

In line with this year’s Human Rights Day theme “Three Decades of Respect for and Promotion of Human Rights”, Wilkinson urges leaders in industry, government, and civil society to recognise and promote positive masculinity as a proven antidote to the social ills that rob women and children of their basic human rights.

“Good men use political power to serve their constituency; economic power to serve their families, loved ones and society; corporate power to serve staff, customers and shareholders and their physical power to protect. We urge fathers, brothers, grandfathers, neighbours, and community leaders to take on the irreplaceable role of a good man in building stronger, more united communities,” says Wilkinson.

Positive masculinity will protect the rights of women and children.

Father A Nation argues that men who grow up with positive and present father figures are less likely to become perpetrators of violent crimes and more likely to become well-adjusted members of society. Not only does this go a long way towards protecting women’s rights by creating less violent, more empathetic men, it also creates an environment where children’s rights are protected, and families thrive.

The saying, “it takes a village to raise a child” is widely embodied in SA where sadly most children (84,4%) are not raised by both of their biological parents and fewer than four in 10 children live with their father, according to Statistics SA (Stats SA). “Present and positively engaged fathers naturally protect their children’s rights as stipulated in SA’s constitution, including the right to family or parental care,” adds Wilkinson.

Research confirms that fatherlessness is possibly the single biggest driver of social dysfunction in communities around the world. Young people who grow up with absent fathers are at greater risk of falling into substance abuse, promiscuity, early pregnancy, abuse, violence, and crime. The greatest predictor of social pathology in children is fatherlessness, greater even than poverty.

Father A Nation has been teaching and inspiring boys and men with positive and healthy masculinity for over thirteen years. On a mission to stand against any form of abuse and raise a generation of men to build a safe and prosperous SA for all, the NPC boasts over 300 000 men exposed to their programmes.

“The power of positive masculinity will not only break the cycle of violence but also create a society where every individual’s rights are upheld and protected. As we as a nation reflect on three decades of advocating for human rights, let us embrace positive masculinity as a cornerstone for building stronger, more equitable communities, where every person can flourish and live with dignity and safety,” Wilkinson concludes.

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