In Vhembe, 12% of the sexual assaults are perpetrated by boys under the age of 18. To combat this, one of the unique programmes we run involves targeting boys, usually in their teens, at initiation (circumcision) schools. Initiation schools are meant to instill traditional values and recognise the transition of a boy into a man in the eyes of traditional communities. We saw this as an opportunity. What if we tried to reach potential perpetrators and change attitudes about sexual and gender-roles up front, before they lead to violence? So, we established relationships with the surgeon and mentors and for the past 2 years have been leading discussions with the initiates on sexual and gender based violence, the legal rights of women and men, and other relevant topics.
As of 2016, this programme has reached
Currently, TVEP staff run the dialogues and other activities aimed at the boys, but in order to increase sustainability, we are looking at ways we can capacitate the mentors and even the surgeons to take ownership and facilitate the dialogues on their own.
Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme (TVEP) is located in the Limpopo province of South Africa. We focus on providing prevention, empowerment and support services in five thematic areas: HIV/AIDS, child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, and LGBTI/ minorities.
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171 Mathaphu st, Thohoyandou Q, next to Mbilwi Sec School, Sibasa, 0970