Browsing by Author "Le Roux, Elisabet"
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- ItemCan religious women choose? holding the tension between complicity and agency(Desmond Tutu Centre for Religion and Social Justice, University of the Western Cape, 2019) Le Roux, ElisabetWomen are oppressed and made to suffer violence by a patriarchal system that values them less than men. Yet, at times they are complicit in this system. Those advocating for gender equality and non-violence tend to interpret this based on a simplistic patriarchal resistance/compliance model. This is especially the case with the religious woman, whose devotion to a religion that decrees her subjugation is challenging to especially feminists.The article argues that, in order to recognise the agency of religious women, a splitting of the feminist project is needed: the analytical project, that strives to understand actions from the perspective of the doer, should be separated from the political project, which strives to bring change for the betterment of women. Yet, the analytical and the political are not a binary and exist in constant tension. Second, the analytical project is a dual one, where the positioning and worldview of the outsider is also interrogated. A case study from Zambia is used to illustrate the importance â€“ for researchers and practitioners â€“ of separating the feminist analytical project from the feminist political project when engaging with religious women and their role in gender inequality and violence.This essay challenges feminist researchers and practitioners on two fronts: to constantly grapple with the tension between the (dual) analytical and political, and to take religion seriously when striving to understand com-pliance. Religious womenâ€™s actions can possibly be a profound act of agency but can be misinterpreted if only analysed from the perspective of patriarchal resistance or compliance. This challenge reflects the constant tension that is the reality of feminist work with and on religion and gender inequality and violence.
- ItemEngaging with faith groups to prevent VAWG in conflict-affected communities : results from two community surveys in the DRC(BMC (part of Springer Nature), 2020-10-07) Le Roux, Elisabet; Corboz, Julienne; Scott, Nigel; Sandilands, Maggie; Lele, Uwezo Baghuma; Bezzolato, Elena; Jewkes, RachelBackground: An evaluation was conducted of a three-year intervention focused on violence against women and girls (VAWG) and implemented in the conflict-affected north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country with high rates of VAWG. The intervention addressed VAWG, and especially sexual violence, by specifically engaging with communities of faith and their leaders. Methods: Two community surveys were conducted, one before and one after the intervention, in three health areas in Ituri Province in the DRC. At both baseline and endline, data was collected from male and female members of randomly selected households in 15 villages (five per health area) in which the intervention was being implemented. At baseline the sample comprised 751 respondents (387 women, 364 men) and at endline 1198 respondents (601 women, 597 men). Questionnaires were interviewer-administered, with sensitive questions related to experience or perpetration of violence self-completed by participants. Results: The study showed significantly more equitable gender attitudes and less tolerance for IPV at endline. Positive attitude change was not limited to those actively engaged within faith communities, with a positive shift across the entire community in terms of gender attitudes, rape myths and rape stigma scores, regardless of level of faith engagement. There was a significant decline in all aspects of IPV in the communities who experienced the intervention. While the experience and perpetration of IPV reported at endline did not track with exposure to the intervention, it is plausible that in a context where social norm change was sought, the impact of the intervention on those exposed could have had an impact on the behaviour of the unexposed. Conclusion: This intervention was premised on the assumption that faith leaders and faith communities are a key entry point into an entire community, able to influence an entire community. Research has affirmed this assumption and engaging with faith leaders and faith communities can thus be a strategic intervention strategy. While we are confident of the link between the social norms change and faith engagement and project exposure, the link between IPV reduction and faith engagement and project exposure needs more research.
- ItemPornography : human right or human rights violation(AOSIS Publishing, 2010-10) Le Roux, ElisabetThe article investigates the availability of pornographic media to under-aged users, specifically the already marginalised under-aged sector of the South African population. It argues that the availability of pornography is just another illustration of the systemic discrimination against this section of the population. Theoretical, non-experimental and clinical evidence illustrating the negative impact that the exposure to pornography has on children is presented against the background of the social reality of South Africa. The article finds that exposure to pornography leaves children even more vulnerable than they already are. The investigation of relevant legislation indicates that those who broadcast and/or sell pornography contravene South African law. The article concludes that the effects of pornography on children are far-reaching and potentially harmful. Children should be more effectively protected against exposure to pornography. Lastly, the role of faith-based organisations (FBOs) and the possibilities of their effective involvement, is explored.
- ItemRecognising and responding to complex dilemmas : child marriage in South Africa(African Sun Media, 2020) Le Roux, ElisabetIn a June 2019 exposé on child marriage in South Africa, the investigative journalism television show Carte Blanche drew renewed attention to the more than 90 000 girls in South Africa who entered marriages as child brides. The show focused on a “polluted ukuthwala” as a major driver of child marriage, unpacking how traditional cultural practices have become warped to the extent that it leads to young girls being forced to marry older men against their will (Forced child marriages 2019). Nevertheless, South Africa remains a country with one of the lowest rates of child marriage in Africa. Compared to countries,such as Niger, where 76% of women aged 20-24 years were first married or in a union before they were 18 years old, and the Central African Republic, where it is 68% of girls, South Africa’s rates are low: the last available data, collected in 2003, showed that only 6% of girls in South Africa are married before the age of 18 years (Institut National de la Statistique 2013; ICASEES 2010; Department of Health 2007). However, these statistics paint a misleading picture of the fate of thousands of girl children1 in South Africa. This chapter will briefly unpack the nature, drivers and consequences of child marriage, followed by a focus on South African legislation and cultural practices relevant to child marriage. This is a prelude to an in-depth discussion of three key dilemmas relating to the phenomenon, namely the inadequacy of a legislative response, the clash between the primacy of human rights versus cultural rights, and the reality of transactional intergenerational sex in relationships other than marriages. Recognition of these dilemmas leads to acknowledgement that current responses to child marriage are not merely woefully inadequate, but also fail to grasp the full scale of the problem.
- ItemThe role of African Christian churches in dealing with sexual violence against women : the case of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Liberia(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2014-12) Le Roux, Elisabet; Heinecken, Lynnette Peta Terrie; Claassens, L. Juliana M.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Sociology and Social Anthropology.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Sexual violence against women (SVAW) has always been part of armed conflict. However, only recently has international law deemed it a crime against humanity and a genocidal crime, thus finally recognising that it is a strategy and weapon that is used extensively during conflict. SVAW and its consequences, however, also continue in the aftermath of conflict, with both ex-combatants and civilians perpetrating SVAW. The effectiveness of SVAW as a weapon and strategy relies on the existence of gender identities and relations that subjugate women. This gender inequality is instated and perpetuated through hegemonic masculinity and patriarchy, and violence against women is one way in which the imbalance is enforced. Patriarchal beliefs and structures, combined with a form of militarised hypermasculinity, lead to SVAW being used during armed conflict, but also continuing in its aftermath. The consequences for survivors are that they are often stigmatised and discriminated against by their husbands, families and communities, and this contributes to their further marginalisation and exploitation. As the state and international security and peacekeeping bodies fail to adequately address SVAW, civil society organisations (CSOs) tend to fill this void by providing mostly support to women affected. One sector of African civil society, namely African Christian churches, has a good record of effectively filling roles usually associated with the state. Furthermore, African Christian churches have increased tremendously in the last century, function at grassroots-level, and are of the few CSOs that continue functioning during armed conflict. As religious institutions they have authority and impact, for religion has the ability to influence behaviour, facilitate societal change, and provide societal solidarity and cohesion. Thus, for the marginalised in Africa, religion is a powerful resource. This leads one to assume that churches can be effective in addressing SVAW. This supposition was tested by studying how churches address SVAW in three different areas affected by armed conflict, namely the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Liberia, by using a qualitative, multiple-case case study approach. In two sites in each country, one urban and one rural, structured interview questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, and nominal groups were done, focusing on the causes and consequences of SVAW and how it is being addressed, specifically by churches. The findings showed that SVAW in areas affected by armed conflict are due to patriarchal structures and beliefs, and the military hypermasculinity that has infused civilian masculinities. Patriarchy is also the indirect cause of the most severe consequences of SVAW. These are physical, psychological, social and economic, but the impact of the stigmatisation and discrimination that survivors experience is what they find most debilitating. Unfortunately, neither government nor civil society is addressing SVAW to any great extent and where they do, their actions are reactive not proactive in terms of prevention. This was no different in terms of the role and influence of the churches. While people believe in the ability of churches to be important actors in addressing SVAW, churches are not doing so, for they, too, are patriarchal institutions. Their ability to address injustice is limited when the cause of the injustice are practices and beliefs that lie at the heart of the religion and the churches, especially if these practices and beliefs are upholding the power of those currently in power. By perpetuating patriarchy, churches are actually contributing to SVAW being used as a weapon and strategy of warfare.
- ItemSocial justice required : youth at the margins, churches and social cohesion in South Africa(AOSIS, 2018) Le Roux, Elisabet; Hankela, Elina; McDonald, ZahraaThe divides within South African society remain stark, also for youth born after apartheid officially ended in 1994. At the same time, adherence to a faith tradition is statistically high among South Africans, and faith-based organisations (FBOs), an umbrella term including but not limited to churches, also have high levels of youth participation. Scholars have identified positive connotations between FBOs, civil society, social welfare and social care. Within this broader context, and based on qualitative interviews and focus group data, this article explores how young people in two South African communities experience isolation and separation in their everyday life and how they perceive the role of churches, in particular, in strengthening or weakening this sense of marginalisation. On a theoretical level, the article reflects on how two dimensions of social cohesion relate to one another in young people’s everyday life. The first dimension comprises of aspects such as participation, diversity and trust, whereas the second relates to justice and equity. Special attention is given to the relationship between the two dimensions of social cohesion in the context of local churches. We argue that the experiences and perceptions of the interviewed young people support the view promoted by some scholars that, for social cohesion to actualise in society, issues related to social justice must be addressed. Furthermore, churches could play a more central role in doing so – at least more so than what appears to currently be the case.
- ItemSpirituality in film : a critical enquiry into the film Yesterday and the question of stigmatisation within the context of the HIV pandemic(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2008-03) Le Roux, Elisabet; Louw, D. J. (Daniel Johannes), 1944-; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology. Dept. of Practical Theology and Missiology.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Conventional HIV intervention strategies are based on the presupposition that scientific knowledge and appropriate information about HIV will curb the spread of the disease. The dominant approaches to the HIV debate and pandemic focus mostly on the medical, pedagogical and ethical dimensions of the pandemic. Governments are concerned with democratic and human rights and the juridical implications of HIV. This study proposes that a team approach should be followed, with the emphasis on a holistic model of prevention care. In this regard it is hypothesised that the spiritual dimension, emphasising our human quest for meaning, moral decision-making and virtues as related to the transcendent dimension of our being human, should play a substantial role. One of the most burning issues in the pandemic is the phenomenon of stigmatisation. This investigation is in search of an approach that can effectively penetrate the realm of prejudice, blaming, and discrimination. If spirituality can address stigmatisation, antistigma interventions must acknowledge the role of pastoral care with its emphasis on ‘soul care’, values and meaning. The study explores the possibility of extending the traditional understanding of theology as fides quarens intellectum, with its emphasis on knowledge (the rational), to fides quares imaginem, with its emphasis on imagination (the aesthetic dimension of life). Therefore the important presupposition that, due to the aesthetic dimension of faith, care to people living with HIV should include the aesthetic dimension. If one links fides quares imaginem to fides quarens visum new options can be created for Practical Theology. In this regard, the visual dimension of life as represented by media, and specifically film, should be investigated in a HIV prevention strategy. The study thus proposes that a specific form of art, namely film, has potential as an effective antistigma intervention. It is hypothesised that film inherently has a spiritual dimension. This spiritual dimension could be linked to issues that can determine the direction and meaning of life, as well as the understanding of human identity and dignity. In this regard the study wants to determine to what extent film can play a fundamental role in addressing the realm of attitudes, convictions and belief systems. Film is thus suggested as a medium for spiritual intervention in order to bring about change on the level of perceptions. Lesser-educated people are very vulnerable, especially in relation to HIV. The study wants to explore whether film can be an effective medium of addressing, educating and influencing such people at their level. In order to test this, an empirical study was done to assess the effect that film has on HIV stigmatisation within such a group of people. The aim of the empirical research was not to create statistical evidence, but to illustrate certain trends and tendencies. A group of people from Vlaeberg, a rural area outside of Stellenbosch, South Africa, was chosen for the study. In order to empirically explore the potential of film in addressing HIV stigmatisation it was decided to use the film Yesterday, the first South African film to be nominated for an Oscar. The film was chosen for the following reasons: a) it is set within South Africa, depicting vulnerable persons within a rural setting; b) it has a positive, though realistic approach to HIV; c) it depicts the cruelty of stigmatisation; d) it shows how you can assist those with HIV; and e) it is easily understandable. The film was positively received and able to influence the stigmatising perceptions, attitudes and convictions of the target group. The empirical study proved that film has a spiritual dimension and should be used as a medium for spirituality formation. Due to this, it has an important role to play in antistigma interventions. In this regard, the research showed that film can indeed play a decisive role in a HIV prevention strategy and an antistigma intervention.
- Item'There's no-one you can trust to talk to here' : churches and internally displaced survivors of sexual violence in Medellín, Colombia(AOSIS, 2019-12-17) Le Roux, Elisabet; Valencia, Laura CadavidAfter over 50 years of warfare, Colombia has the largest internally displaced population in the world. Internally displaced women appear to be particularly at risk of sexual violence. Religious belief and affiliation can potentially impact the coping of internally displaced and sexual violence survivors in a country where 79% of the population self-identifies as Catholic and 13% as Protestant. This article explores the complex intersect of religion, internal displacement and sexual violence by drawing on interview and focus group data collected from sexual violence survivors and faith leaders in a community of internally displaced survivors in Medellín, Colombia. The qualitative empirical data are used to unpack displaced survivors’ experiences and needs, and reflect on churches’ response to internally displaced and sexual violence survivors more broadly. We see that by offering a spiritual response to a traumatic event and its consequences, as well as a sense of community and belonging, churches can contribute to the coping ability and healing process of displaced survivors. A theological approach to sexual violence can ensure that sexual violence prevention and response is seen as part of churches’ core mandate and mainstreamed in their activities, and by leveraging their ability to influence community and individual beliefs and behaviours, churches can counter the inter-generational cycle of intra-familial violence that so often emerges in the settings of internally displaced persons.