Child maltreatment and gender-based violence can be reduced by parenting programs involving fathers. Most parenting programs, however, have difficulties recruiting fathers.

In the fight against GBV #YouWithTheBoys talks to the founders of Dads of Daughters about their initiative to prevent Gender-Based Violence by promoting a healthy father and daughter relationship at an early age. 

There is no doubt that parenting plays a major role in children’s mental health, ability to succeed, social skills, academic performance, and more. The influence of parents has a profound effect on all of us, regardless of whether we are fortunate to have two parents or even one parent present and active in our lives. Three friends who are fathers to girl children have embarked on a journey to fight gender-based violence (GBV).

How important is it to teach them value on money at a young age?

I think it is very important to teach them independence from men. If there is money you can spend it, but you shouldn’t just spend it because it is there, you must spend it based on a need.

In the police service, GBV remains a top priority crime, according to Bheki Cele. This is why the trio Mpiyakhe Khoza, 37, Mzwandile Nonkula, 43, and Thabo Mashego, 40, of Burgersfort in Limpopo, started a movement called Dads of Daughters (DoD), which encourages fathers to bond and love their daughters.  

They met when they were merchants about 15 years ago. Due to the increasing number of cases of GBV, the friends came up with the idea of creating a concept that would be an intrinsic part of everyday life. When Mashego became a father to girls, he was concerned about issues of abuse faced by women and children.

It’s no secret that absent fathers are a pandemic we still shy away from speaking about. As men who have decided to stand in the gap, what do you think has led to the lack of fathering in our communities?

As we have realized there is a serious issue of fatherlessness, particularly for girls, there is a phenomenon called Father Hunger that children who grow up without fathers experience, especially in rural areas. We realised that around 25 per cent of children grow up in a home where the biological father is not present, and we realised that there are several organisations, among which is StatsSA, that are providing reliable information.

The father plays a particularly important role in the lives of their daughters, even though the mother plays a vital role in their lives as well. Daughters observe the way their fathers treat other women, especially their mothers, from an early age. When fathers verbally or non-verbally abuse, neglect, or hurt their wives, they are unknowingly teaching their daughters how women should be treated.

Those women who end up in abusive relationships later in life tend to have been abused at some point as a child, even if the abuse was only minor. Men who love and care for their wives and daughters teach them that women should be treated with respect and love by the men in their lives.

Check the full interview below:

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