By Nomfundo Xulu-Lentsoane 

  • The Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children in Cape Town, now an official Khuseleka Centre, provides comprehensive support services to victims of gender-based violence (GBV) and was recently relaunched by the Department of Social Development.
  • Victor Pike, a mentor for the non-profit organisation Father a Nation (FAN), has led over 5,000 workshops to empower men to advocate against GBV, highlighting the importance of healthy masculinity and offering psychosocial support to perpetrators and former perpetrators.
  • FAN’s workshops, which focus on understanding GBV, raising men, why men abuse, and overcoming GBV, aim to change the status quo by encouraging men to take responsibility and actively combat GBV in their communities.

The expressive “No Excuse” t-shirt makes an immediate point. He is a man attending the official launch of the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children (SBCWC).

The centre, unveiled as an official Khuseleka Centre in Manenberg, Cape Town, caters to women and children who have been victims of gender-based violence (GBV). It was privately opened 25 years ago, and the 27th of May was also celebrated to mark this milestone.

There are 120 beds in the centre, which are constantly occupied due to the high levels of GBV in the area.

As the Western Cape mentor for Father a Nation (FAN), a non-profit organisation, Victor Pike says he, together with fellow mentors, has conducted over 5,000 workshops to empower men to advocate against gender-based violence across the country.

“Healthy masculinity needs to be modelled and imparted to the boy child,” he says, quoting the “No Excuse for Abuse” coursebook written by Craig Wilkinson, who founded FAN in 2013.

“I joined the organisation in 2016. The reason I joined was because I saw that men need help and conducive platforms to speak out. An angry and suppressed man is an abusive man. The stereotypical view that men should not show, or have, emotions is a precursor to men being perpetrators of crime – including GBV,” said the 49-year-old, adding that FAN has reached over 350,000 people since its inception.

“My view is that it is time for men to stand up, rise up, and be active and proactive in the fight against this monster! A fight against this pandemic of gender-based violence and femicide. We don’t want bystanders. We cannot be men who say this is none of my business if it is not close to home for them. We need to, as men, take responsibility no matter what.”

“When we see a woman being abused, we need to take action and protect her. When you see a child being abused in whichever way, step up and be a father figure to that child to impact positive change in the child’s life,” he expressed.

As a senior mentor, his work, apart from conducting workshops, includes earmarking men who are activists for the ending of GBV through constant dialogues and allowing men in their communities to express why some of them are perpetrators or former perpetrators. They also seek psychosocial support for men in order for them to be decent examples in their homes and communities.

The workshops focus on:

  1. Understanding GBV
  2. Raising Men
  3. Why Men Abuse
  4. Overcoming GBV

“It is time for men to stand up and say ‘not in my name, not under my watch’ to change the current status quo,” he said.

For more FAN information, visit: Father a Nation.

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