South Africa: Gender Equality Urges Men to Talk and Stop Male Suicide

The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) will be joining hands with South African men as well as with men representing more than 60 Countries to celebrate International Men's Day under the theme "Stop Male Suicide".

International Men's Day focuses on raising awareness on men's and boy's health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive role models. This year's theme seeks to highlight the dangers that men are faced with in terms of suicide. Research has shown that the suicide rate is worse for men than women. Globally, male life expectancy at birth in 2015 was 69 years in comparison to 74 years for females.

The Commission for Gender Equality calls for men to "speak out" about the challenges they face in life. The voices of men should be heard, their positive role and contributions in our society must be recognized, men are humans who must be affirmed and accorded an opportunity to learn from various experiences. Men must be encouraged to deal with mental challenges that tend to result in suicide. The CGE is also cognizant of the fact that patriarchal upbringing has killed the softer side in men to engage on crucial issues as consequence die in silence. CGE is encouraging men to talk about suicide as help is always available.

In addition, any marginalisation of men could also have a ripple effect on the boy child who could assume suicide is the only solution when faced with challenges or difficulties. Therefore, society needs to embrace men, recognize their value, understand their needs and make an effort to both support them in realizing that they are an important component in the home, in society, in the world and have a meaningful role to play. Therefore, suicide is not an option.

In a society where the stereotype exists that "men don't cry "has resulted in circumstances where men have been subjected to ridicule when they talk about domestic abuse and sexual violence in their homes. Due to some of these constraints many men have either continued or worse perished in silence. The CGE is of the view that platforms should be created for men and their diversity of viewpoints to engage on various topical issues in order to help address suicidal tendencies. We also call upon the police to be sensitive to men when they report issues of abuse instead of laughing or mocking them.

The Commission for Gender Equality throughout the 16 Days of Activism will also embark in legal clinics and outreach programmes that are geared into capacitating and educating men about issues relating to eliminating violence against women and Children. We assist men establish their own Men's Forum wherein issues such as suicide could be discussed.

Source: Commission for Gender Equality.

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