Gender-based Violence in South African Schools

At Sizabantwana's last meeting, Ms Noma Sibisi came to tell us about the issue of gender based violence in schools. Ms Noma Sibisi is a social worker and a criminologist and specializes in cases relating to gender-based violence.

During the meeting Ms Sibisi discussed the statistics regarding this very relevant topic which show that gender-based violence is more prominent in high schools amongst adolescents and also that boys are typically more likely to be the perpetrators and girls the victims. Some of the discourse that is commonly used when talking about this subject, for example "boys will be boys" was also discussed. Ms Sibisi focused her discussion specifically on how gender-based violence often presents in schools and what possible solutions teachers may provide. One of the teachers explained how, to address some of the gender-based violence issues in her class, she gave a life skills lesson with the rationale 'knowledge is power'. Another solution that may not be feasible for all schools is to have a social worker on staff. Although this may not always be possible, it would be beneficial to at least have the contact information of a social worker available to the school.

Ms Sibisi, discussed with the teachers possible causes or reasons why gender-based violence occurs. Some of the reasons given were attributed to upbringing, reinforced traditional gender roles, media and television as well as possible issues withing the child. It was also discussed that sometimes the teachers themselves can be involved in the cycle of violence in either the role of the victim or perpetrator.

From all the teachers at Sizabantwana we would like to say thank you to Ms Noma Sibisi for sharing her wisdom. We hope to empower teachers and learners to stop the cycle of gender-based violence in schools.

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