Men’s Programmes

DSD VEP

Men's Intervention

Men’s Intervention Programme

Many have asked why we need a Men’s programme when the majority of victims are women?  This is blatantly untrue – the majority of victims in our country are young men – it just doesn’t make the news, or if it does, it is seen just as another expression of ‘violence’.

Men are not born violent.  They are socialised into violence by myriad factors.

In the current debate around how to get to grips with gender-based violence, we ignore the voice of men at our own peril.

The social and economic world of men has been turned upside down.  Men feel adrift and unempowered and react to these feelings with violence, withdrawing into substance or opting out of a positive future that is actually within their ability to attain.

The biggest issue, to quote Richard Reeves, is “Previous attempts to treat this condition (of men feeling the way they do at present), from all political angles, have made the same fatal mistake - of viewing the problems of men as a problem with men.”

We need to look at the prevailing, predominant social structures defining masculine maturity and success and how these can and must be reinvented.  This is not possible without engaging with men where they live;  it is not prescriptive, it is a collaborative process.

One of the main questions often posed is “what it means to be a man”. Who knows, but it is only through creating a space where men are able to talk, be heard, without judgement, and explore what it means to them to “be a man”.  What are the consequences for acting in the same way as oftentimes violent and aggressive men informing the male youth of our country’s learned behaviour?  How do they form positive relationships and a sense of self if they have no male role models or those role models are themselves violent and negative?

The concept or buzzword that is “toxic masculinity” is often used as a catch all to suggest that men’s problems are their own, of their own making.  Yes, it is a structural, systemic effect of patriarchy and patriarchal thinking, but to brand all male behaviour as toxic and stemming from individual choice is too simplistic a view of a deeply rooted, intergenerational problem.

Our Men’s Intervention Programme works with offenders and male victims of violence in individual therapeutic sessions as well as therapeutic group sessions.  The programme has also started community support groups for men to continue discovering what it means to them, to be men, in a safe and engaging manner.

Important to note is that looking at the problems men are facing does not negate the female experience.  If we do not look at, delve, probe, discuss and start to work towards changes in how men think about themselves and the world they find themselves in, we will be adding to the increasing number of negative female experiences.

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The programme goals include:

Addressing the needs of the clients in dealing with their own emotions in a more constructive manner

Identifying their own risks

Working towards not becoming or remaining violent and

To limit other related anti-social behaviours.

The programme is currently available in Hout Bay, Ocean View, Masiphumelele and the Drakenstein area.

 

The one on one therapeutic sessions are available as long as the client needs.

The highly interactive and the group work / group therapy focuses on skills development and positive behaviour change.

Rian also conducts training for community volunteers in mentoring and peer-education.

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