Masculinities and gender-based violence in South Africa: a study of a masculinities-focused intervention programme

Graaff, Karen De Villiers (2017-03)

Thesis (DPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: South Africa as a country experiences extremely high rates of violence and gender-based violence (GBV). A wide range of interventions have been implemented as a means to respond to these, including legislative changes from government, and women-focused reactive interventions which act as support for survivors of incidents of violence. However, these have had not a significant impact on reducing levels of GBV in the country, and this suggests that alternative methods need to be investigated. This research therefore focuses on a specific alternative – masculinities-focused interventions – in the hope of understanding how to improve the effect of these as a GBV reduction strategy. A review of the literature focusing on causes of GBV point to a number of different opinions, ranging from individual aspects (such as substance abuse, or witnessed or experienced abuse) to more societal-level aspects (such as culture, and strain theories). However, few of these focus on the fact that it is overwhelmingly men who perpetrate violence in all regions and cultures. I therefore argue that an important aspect to understand when looking at GBV is the impact of hegemonic masculinities on men. Certain versions of masculinity, such as hypermasculinities and those associated with the military, have a specific emphasis on violence as a means of achievement, and societies where these forms of masculinity are prevalent and praised are therefore likely to display high levels of GBV. The majority of GBV interventions in South Africa are reactive and survivor-focused. However, the literature suggests that these are not effective at reducing levels of GBV, resulting in attempts to focus specifically on men and masculinities in order to do so. While masculinities-focused interventions have a number of positive effects, little attention has thus far been paid to the way in which these effects are achieved. This research therefore aims to help understand how such interventions influence participants, and also those factors which motivate them to join and remain involved in the intervention, in order to contribute to the knowledge on how to improve these interventions in the future. These questions were investigated through participant observation of workshops, focus group discussions with workshop participants, and one-on-one interviews with workshop participants, facilitators and practitioners in the field of GBV. Four focus groups were conducted, and one-on-one interviews with seven workshop participants and nine workshop facilitators and practitioners. This study showed that the primary reason for participants joining is through a desire to be involved in community improvement, rather than a specific interest in GBV prevention. Supporting the notion that socialisation is heavily influenced by a person’s peers, the Stellenbosch aspects which were noted as having the biggest effect both during and after the intervention were the presence of a supportive peer group, and facilitators who acted as positive role models. These aspects motivated participants to want to shift their behaviour and become role models themselves. This study therefore highlights issues to consider in the improvement of GBV interventions as well as the implications for addressing GBV more broadly.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: As ‘n land het Suid-Afrika besonder höe vlakke van geweld en geslagsgebaseerde geweld (GGG). ‘n Wye spectrum van ingrypings is al toegepas om hierdie verskynsels aan te pak, hierby ingesluit wetsveranderings van regeringskant, en vrou-georienteerde reaktiewe ingrypings wat ondersteuning verskaf aan die oorlewendes van GGG. Maar hierdie ingrypings het nie ‘n noemenswaardinge impak op GGG vlakke gehad nie, en dit wil voorkom asof alternatiewe middele ondersoek moet word. Hierdie navorsing fokus dan op ‘n spesifieke alternatief – manlikheids georienteerde ingrypings – met die doel om te verstaan hoe die impak van hierdie ingrypings as GGG verminderingstrategieë verbeter kan word. ‘n Oorsig van die literatuur aangaande die oorsake van GGG dui op ‘n aantal verskillende opinies, vanaf indiwiduele oorsake (soos dwelm misbruik, of waargenome of ervaarde mishandeling) na meer maatskaplike oorsake (soos kultuur en teorieë van spanning). Maar baie min van hierdie teorieë focus op die feit dat dit oorweldigend mans is wat verantwoordelik is vir hierdie geweld in alle gebiede en kulture. Ek argumenteer derhalwe dat ‘n belangrike aspek om in ag te neem met GGG is die impak van hegemoniese manlikhede op mans. Verskeie vorms van manlikheid, soos hipermanlikhede en daardie manlikhede wat met die militêr geassosieer word, het ‘n spesifieke fokus op geweld as prestasiemiddel, en samelewings waar hierdie vorms van manlikheid sterk voorkom en geprys word is derhalwe geneig om hoë vlakke van GGG te openbaar. Die meerderheid van GGG ingrypings in Suid-Afrika is reaktief en gefokus op die oorlewendes. Maar die literatuur wil voorgee dat hierdie ingrypings nie effektief is in die vermindering van GGG-vlakke nie, wat veroorsaak dat meer manlikhede-gefokuste ingrypings voorkom om hierdie doel te bereik. Terwyl manlikhede-gefokuste ingrypings ‘n aantal positiewe resultate vertoon, is daar tot dusver maar min aandag geskenk aan die maniere waarop hierdie resultate bereik word. Hierdie navorsing wil dan verstaan hoe sulke ingrypings deelnemers beinvloed, asook daardie faktore wat deelnemers motiveer om by die ingryping aan te sluit en betrokke te bly, met die doel om by te dra tot die kennis van hoe hierdie ingrypings in die toekoms verbeter kan word. Hierdie vrae is deur middel van deelnemed waarneming van werkswinkels, fogus groep besprekings met werkswinkel deelnemers, en aangesig-tot-aangesig onderhoude met werkswinkel deelnemers, bemiddelaars en GGG praktisyns, ondersoek. Vier fokus groepe, aangesig-tot-aangesig onderhoude met sewe werkswinkel deelnemers en nege werkswinkel bemiddelaars en prakisyns, is gevoer. Hierdie studie het bewys dat die vernaamste rede waarom deelnemers aansluit is ‘n begeerte om betrokke te raak in gemeenskapsverbetering, eerder as ‘n spesifieke belangstelling in die voorkoming van GGG. In ondersteuning van die gedagte dat sosialisering noemenswaardig beïnvloed word deur ‘n persoon se eweknieë, is die aspekte wat die grootste impak beide gedurende en na die ingryping gehad het die aanwesigheid van ‘n ondersteunende ewekniegroep, en bemiddelaars wat as positiewe rolmodelle opgetree het. Hierdie aspekte het deelnemers gemotiveer om hulle gedrag te verander, en dus om hulleself rolmodelle te word. Hierdie studie onderstreep dus belangrike aspekte in die verbetering van GGG ingrypings sowel as die implikasies vir GGG ingrypings in die algemeen gesien.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/101057
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