GBVH is not a decoration to hang in the hallway | EAPA-SA
This article was submitted by one of our readers and 2022 Eduweek speaker: Paula Quinsee

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In the past 3 months alone 989 women killed, and 13 000 women assaulted between July and Sept 2022.

Certainly not something to be #ProudlySouthAfrican about….

As we once again come to the end of the annual global 16 Days of Activism campaign which runs from 25 Nov – 10 Dec, I urge you to please not put your GBVH initiatives away in the cupboard only to bring it out again next year like Christmas Decorations.

Abuse happens 24/7/365, in our homes, our organisations and our communities it does not wait for next week, next month or next year.

Which is why we need to be raising awareness about this topic every single day not just in August for Women’s month, and December for the 16 Days of Activism.

Abuse does not discriminate across class or gender. Abuse spans across the gender spectrum and is experienced by women, young girls, young boys, men and the LQBTQI community.

Approximately 1 in 6 men and 1 in 3 women experiences contact sexual violence in their lives, while 1 in 9 men, and 1 in 4 women experience Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).

Not all men are bad, and we cannot label all men as #trash, but men do need to know that their masculinity comes with a responsibility, and that is to protect not harm. Anger management classes is no substitute for preventing abusive behaviour. Perpetrators need assisted therapy for sustainable rehabilitation to occur.

Sadly abuse does not only happen in person, recently we had the first reported case of an Avatar being raped in the Metaverse. So, to those organisations exploring the virtual reality world for employee experiential e-learning and more – how are you going to keep your employees safe?
Whether someone is suffering from depression, in a toxic situation or experiencing some form of abuse, they are not in a mentally well state. The burden of keeping abuse a secret can severely impact a victim and result in increased anxiety, depression, symptoms of poor health, and more rapid progression of diseases such as high blood pressure etc.

The #1 thing that prevents people from speaking up is the stigma associated with mental health issues – but stigma ranks last when employers list their top mental-health priorities. (McKinnseys). Removing stigma should be a key focus and priority going forward for all organisations.

If we want our employees to be productive and deliver on their responsibilities, then organisations must reciprocate with safe working environments whether you are working from home or in the office. Wellness strategies must include support structures for perpetrators too, not just victims. We can’t keep placing the responsibility at the feet of the victims to change their situation – we need to hold perpetrators accountable for their behaviour too.

Together we are stronger and can stop but, it is going to take courage to stand up and say no more, and for everyone to be active citizens and put a stop to this life sapping pandemic that affects us all.

What’s your choice going to be?

Paula Quinsee

Paula Quinsee

Founder of Engaged Humans

Paula Quinsee is the Founder of Engaged Humans, facilitating connection through building relationships and psychological safety resulting in engaged humans at work and home. She is a certified Imago Relationship Therapy Educator and Facilitator, NLP Practitioner and PDA Analyst, Coach and Trainer. Paula is also the author of 2 self-help guides: ‘Embracing Conflict’ and ‘Embracing No’ as well as an international speaker, advocate for mental health and activist for gender-based violence. For more info: