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How Darlyn Okojie Solved Cross-Border Transactions With An Expanding Business



Darlyn Okojie, Founder at Rugs and Floors (Image: Supplied)

Darlyn Okojie has never been a big dreamer, however, she is a strong believer in the power of hard work and sheer grit. “If I could think it then I could do it’’. Her personality has also made her realise that she loved being around smart people, especially those that inspire me to do more,.

Daryln has a friend who is a co-founder of an organization with operations in four African countries. In December 2020, he visited her and she was so excited about her growth and all she had accomplished with Rugs and Floors (at this time it was just Rugs and Floors Lagos). Darlyn showed him her books, but his reply was shocking. He asked her a barrage of questions e,g Can you produce your own rugs now? What would it take for you to supply outside Nigeria? Can you brand and customise rugs now? What makes you different from everyone else? How do you plan to expand? What’s your target for next year?

His question made her realize that although she had achieved a lot, there were still a myriad of opportunities to explore. She then listed all the questions he had asked, and it gave her a clear version of what she could accomplish. So she started doing her market research, studying different markets and ways to expand my business. A few months after the fateful conversation, Darlyn travelled to Kenya and then Turkey and started exploring the international market and her supply chain. As she started expanding her base, new challenges started arising. By the time she had expanded to a new market, she met her biggest challenge yet: cross-country payments. 


Darlyn started off by dealing with the local money changers in these countries, which meant she had to go through the strenuous process of changing Naira to Dollars and Dollars to the local currency. Then, November 2021, she heard about Wise from a friend for the first time and decided to try them out. However, due to restrictions on forex made by the Central Bank of Nigeria, she couldn’t even open the account until she was out of the country. But as soon as she was out of the country, she opened a Wise account and it was life-changing for her as well as Rugs and Floors Africa and Memo Africa.

Wise allowed her to open 10 local accounts in different countries and she could perform transactions in various currencies including, British pounds, Euro, US dollar, Australian dollar and Turkish lira. Any business owner knows that handling finance is quite tasking, and conducting transactions across borders is hell. You can never predict the conversion rate.

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International Women’s Day 2022: The BAO 30 Inspiring Women On Breaking The Bias



In celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022, Business Africa Online (BAO) hosts 30 Inspiring Women #BreakingTheBias. These 30 Inspiring Women were selected across different industries to speak on this year’s IWD 2022 theme #BreakingTheBias. And also to share how they are Standing Out and Standing Up. Excerpt. 


Deloitte Africa CEO-Elect Ruwayda Redfearn

“International Women’s Day is a timely reminder of the progress made over the past few decades around the advancement of women and improving gender parity. The day is also an opportunity to remind each other of the work that still needs to be done to realise the global goal of gender equality.” Read More.

Ngozi Oyewole MD/CEO NOXIE Limited

“As an entrepreneur I am always happy to tell my story and the barriers I face every time, and how I overcome them. Like they say “Your story is your strength and be shameless about the hustle “. Office furniture manufacturing is expected to be a male dominated industry but I thrive very well and pounding the ground even harder than the men…” Read More 

Dr. Anino Emuwa, Managing Director, Avandis Consulting & Founder Africa Women CEOs.

“Gender-balanced leadership is essential for inclusive economic development, societal advancement and the sustainability of our planet. Whilst women and men make great leaders, women face systemic barriers – from unconscious bias to cultural constraints and negative perceptions. We need to #BreakThatBias for the well-being of mankind. Happy International Women’s Day!”

Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes, Founding Partner at Aruwa Capital Management

“International Women’s Day is a day to acknowledge, honour and celebrate women around the world across every level of society, for the contributions they make each day to society. Women as mothers, wives, CEOs, entrepreneurs, investors, board members and everything in between. This year’s theme of #BreakingTheBias is a perfect way to remind society of the unconscious biases that still exist in society and the uphill struggle women have to face everyday to have a voice and to be heard. At Aruwa Capital we are very excited to be breaking this bias by having more women as capital allocators and empowering the next generation of female entrepreneurs by encouraging women to create their own tables rather than asking for a seat.”

Serah Katusya Managing Director, GroupM East and Central Africa & SSA Coordination Lead


This song is a reminder to what we are as women, what I am as a woman, and despite all the beat down we get we keep rising, we keep winning, and with every stone thrown, we build up. Read More 

Mariam Kamel, Angel Investor

“With female entrepreneurship on the rise globally, it is no surprise that Africa boasts one of the highest regional proportions of female entrepreneurs, where 1 in 4 women run their own business. We can visibly see evidence of this in our daily lives.” Read More 

Dr Tebogo Mashifana, Head of Department: Chemical Engineering Technology, University of Johannesburg

“We grow up in societies where we are made to believe that a girl child cannot do some of the things. We get into the classrooms where different systems exist to say a girl child cannot do certain subjects. In the workplace, there are still positions that women cannot occupy. May we be the generation whose decisions are not biased because of gender. May we never discriminate against HER because she is a woman. May we be the generation that champion and create environments that break the bias toward women. Let us #BreakTheBias, it is everyone’s responsibility.”

Fatima Alimohamed, CEO of African Brand Warrior

“We are in 2022 and still asking for a world that is free of bias, discrimination and stereotypes. Clearly, there is some resistance for this not to have already happened. We know that half the sky is held up by women. So why can’t we live in an inclusive world by elevating women’s visibility instead of having us predominantly hidden?’ We all need to take action to #BreakTheBias and question society and demand more from them. We must break the bias and increase access to equity, safety, justice and recognition for every woman. We must not only celebrate every aspect of the social, economic and political achievements of women, every single day. But we must campaign for equality and openly call out gender bias. We must #BreakTheBias NOW.”

Joy Harrison-Abiola, Practice Administrator, Dentons ACAS-LAW

I was 16 and just gained admission into the University. My brother who was a year older was already in University. I could not wait to join him but a shadow was cast over my dreams. My father could not afford our fees. The advice when he went to borrow money from a good friend was, “let your daughter stay back. She will only get married anyway.” Well my Dad did not take the advice. Dad trudged on stoically and with his sacrifice and that of my dear Mother, my brother and I graduated. Dr. Henry Udueni- after a 3rd degree in the UK, sadly passed. I went on to my 2nd degree, started a 3rd and I’m here. I have the piviledge of seeing the joy and gratitude in my Dad’s eyes that he did not hold me back. To build inclusive environments, safe spaces for all to thrive, to break barriers and provide equal opportunity for growth, takes vision and true commitment. It takes my Dad. #BreakingTheBias

Dr. Christine Izuakor, Cyber Culture Hacker & Founder/CEO, Cyber Pop-up

“I’m excited about the #BreakingTheBias campaign because I believe that the first step to breaking bias is consciousness. A lot of bias is unconscious and you cannot break a habit you don’t even know exists. This campaign is a great start to shining a light on various elements of bias impacting women across domains.  It’s only then that we can do something to change it. Happy International Women’s Day!”.

Temi Marcella Awogboro, Investor, Founder and Board Director

“Regardless of gender, International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022 is a beautiful moment to reflect on and celebrate the strides made in women empowerment globally. However, gender biases and stereotypes remain deeply ingrained in our families, homes, societies and organizations, influencing the way we see and treat our girls and women”. Read More

Vumile Msweli, Founder of Hesed Consulting

In celebrating International Women’s Day and reflecting on #BreakingTheBias as a career coach it is natural that I consider the workplace. I think of biases like female bosses are terrible or that women have glass ceilings and at times even glass cliffs. Read More

Oyetola Oduyemi. Senior Director, Public Affairs for Africa, The END Fund.

This International Women’s Day commemoration is another wonderful opportunity to celebrate women the world over. In the last one year, Read More

Onyeka K. Akpaida, Relationship Manager Africa at Women’s World Banking & CIO, Rendra Foundation

Feeling like an Elephant trapped in the body of an Ant, having great potential without the architecture, strategy or replication structure to actualize it; I spent my formative years seeing women give up Read More

Vuyolwethu Dubese, MEAL and Innovation Consultant, Angel Investor

“I operate at the intersection of democratising capital to African female founders. Designing the impact of that capital and ensuring that women (and small businesses) are funnelled to the top through strategic partnerships. This year’s International Women’s Day theme #BreakingTheBias is a way to highlight the opportunities available to enable women to break the bias. And to connect them to enablers of these ecosystems who have (and continue to) trail brazed. Network(ing) is one of the currencies you can give women to trade equitably. It is a long road ahead to ultimately break the bias that’s been tapestried onto women’s capabilities. But days like IWD and publications like Business Africa Online (BAO), continue to mark the necessary evil of the work that is being and has to be done”.

Dr. Adama Kalokoh, Founder of Impact Sierra Leone

#BreakingTheBias – This theme resonates with me so deeply because we all deserve a seat at the table. It does not stop there, we also deserve the right for our voices to be respectfully heard in and out of the boardroom. Read More

Izin Akioya: Multidisciplinary, Marketing Expert and Author

I could easily swap my book title Mum, Find Love Again for #BreakTheBias. The inherent messages are so in sync that I feel opportune to have launched my book this year. Ageism, sexism, inequalities, racism, abuse, are all steeped in biases. Biases remain the leading root cause of non-inclusion, and therefore sit at the heart of a sustainable gender equity strategy. Progress in gender equity, progress in attaining women’s rights over the coming decades will be contingent on how much progress is made. In dismantling unconscious biases and nuances that drive unequal behaviors and societies.

Affirmative action and increased access to education will provide more women with economic security and opportunity. Yet, these women will continue to contend with traditions, lifestyles and faith systems that entrench biases. As we #BreakTheBias, we redefine culture and shape a new meaning of life and living. I am excited to be alive in these times. I am more excited for a future where #BreakTheBias will no longer be necessary.

Saibatu Mansaray, Former White Senior Executive and US Army Major Rtd)

As an African and Muslim woman who moved to the United States at 20 years of age and immediately joined the United States Army. I understand the bias I carried with me into a foreign land and the military. Everyday, questioning myself given my background. Read More

Chinedu Rita Rosa, Wine Export Consultant & CEO/Founder, Vines By Rosa

International Women’s day is a day to reflect and take account of our progress as Women. Celebrating Women from every work of life and culture. With a special emphasis on #BreakingTheBias, that as women, we face everyday. Enjoying our femininity and embracing our power, knowing that every obstacle that stands in our way can be overcome. Standing up Tall, Proud and as Equals in our own rights with no Bias and barriers to keep us from our goals.

Morenike George Taylor, Group MD, Flux Group

“We live in an imperfect world and the sooner we understand that the better. We can start working on how to improve and one area that we need to focus is to remove the bias against women. Women have traditionally been viewed as the weaker sex. We have more men as Presidents, Vice Presidents, CEOs of companies and Members of Parliament than women. This needs to change. Women have the power, potential and prowess to excel in any role. More women should be considered for roles in top leadership. It’s time to break the bias.”

Lisa Hurley,  Editor-At-Large of Linked Inclusion™

This year’s theme is “Break The Bias.” It’s goal is to help us “imagine a gender-equal world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated.” So, Read More

Abimbola Adebakin, CEO Advantage Health Africa

I look forward to a world that is truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive. Women are so powerful when we choose to step into the fullness of our strengths and capabilities. And we have got to create a more enabling environment for women to do just that. We must empower and encourage more women to show up, speak up and show forth. 

Women must also begin to take the plunge and show up where it matters. We need more women to take their place everywhere, with skills as their superpower. The world is more beautiful when we all show up and work together. The outcome is indeed unfathomable when we all, no matter race, gender or social class, can show up in our truest, empowered form.

We must realise that different persons have different circumstances and require different resources and opportunities to BECOME. We must choose to fix the playing field and #breakthebias. We all have a role to play in creating the bias-free world we desire, from schools, to workplaces, to politics, to entrepreneurship. I choose to EMPOWER women. I choose to #BreakTheBias. Do you?

Margaret Adekunle, Founder & CEO, CLC

I am a woman who is fearless and unbelievably strong. There are so many forces that work against Black female entrepreneurs. Access to capital and support is the biggest piece. Society can make things extremely difficult for Black female professional/business owners in different ways such as being labelled “unpromotable” because of who you are not which has nothing to do with your skills or maliciously cancelling a business contract which is well planned out. Against all odds, Black women are strong, smart and have the ability to wither the storm and come out stronger and more successful. 

Advice to Black women

  • Never cry or worry about the past. Just focus on what you want to achieve
  • Always remember that those that really want you to win, will always find a way to help you win without excuses.
  • Keep in mind that you’re built differently.


Hermine Mbondo

As the founder of B4brand, a storytelling-driven marketing agency based in Toronto, Canada, breaking unconscious bias in marketing and advertising is a commitment to create truly diverse and inclusive content from an authentic voice that resonates with the audience. This goes far beyond simply using diverse imagery and brands must challenge existing stereotypes and biases to do better in order to build genuine connections with their audience. – 

Perpetual Kendi, Founder ADDLESTON PR & Laute Luxury Wines

Imagine a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination, a world where difference is valued and celebrated. Where we collectively #BreakTheBias.There are key terms used. Conscious and unconscious bias. The term “unconscious bias” describes our tendency to classify others through characteristics that are not valid. We can break the bias in our communities, workplaces, schools, colleges and universities. As we celebrate women this year, breaking bias is limited to our mental attention and we can all #breakconsious and unconscious bias towards our women.

Paulette Watson, MD/Founder, Academy Achievers

This year’s International Women’s day theme: #BreakingTheBias is really important for me as a black women and also the #BeMe digital inclusion program of raising one million females aspiration in Science Technology engineering math related careers. Read More 

Sally Kimangu, CEO Destination Imagination Africa

Individually, I think we’re all responsible for the way we think and the way we behave – all day,  every day. As women, it’s high time to let go of the stereotypical and societal beliefs that we  have clung onto which is limiting our impact in society and the world at large. Change is the only thing that remains to be constant, with reference to this year’s theme as we  commemorate International Women’s Day – 2022, I believe we can break bias in our  communities, workplaces, schools, universities and all works of life. We just need to make  conscious efforts in order for us to move ahead and level the playing field. 

Onyinye Udokporo, CEO of Enrich Learning

This year’s international women’s day theme, #BreakingTheBias is a significant one. Why? Because for as long as I can remember, there has always been one, or in some cases, several bias against women. Read More

Victoria Trochoux, Serial Entrepreneur & Keynote Speaker

We are a human force that nurtures and uplifts the world. Let us not wait to be hailed for our grace, courage and determination. As Talleyrand aptly said, “Where so many men have failed, a woman can succeed. Therefore, let’s break the prejudices and stereotypes, let’s be masters of our destiny because there’s a bigger dream for us #BreakTheBias

Natalie Nkembuh, Founder of Evolve Media Holdings Limited

Women can move mountains when they work together to support each other, co-create and give everyone the opportunity to take a step further towards attaining set goals. Unfortunately, this is often overlooked. An inclusive society where women feel at home just like men in key roles and decision-making positions, at the level of access to institutions and finance will go a long way to ensure this.

The BAO Inspirining Women #BreakingTheBias is proudly supported by Aruwa Capital Management, The Flux Group and Vines By Rosa. All female-led companies making a huge impact.

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Lisa Hurley Strikes a Pose, Speaks on International Women’s Day 2022 Theme: Break The Bias



Lisa Hurley shares her thoughts with Business Africa Online (BAO) on this year’s IWD 2022 theme: #BreakingTheBias.

“I was a feminist before I even fully knew what the word meant. I was always that child who challenged “the way things are,” asked difficult questions, and pushed back. So as a lifelong feminist, of course I support International Women’s Day and everything it stands for. It celebrates and amplifies women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements around the globe. The day is also meant to shine a light on gender inequality, and to magnify the focus on increasing gender parity.

This year’s theme is “Break The Bias.” Its goal is to help us “imagine a gender-equal world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated.”

But as I scroll through the International Women’s Day coverage, I feel concerned. As a marketer, I appreciate the power of a compelling visual; of a movement to rally behind, so one part of me loves the #BreakTheBias photos that people are posting with their arms crossed in front of them.

However, the other part of me feels like I’ve seen this before, particularly as relates to socio-political movements of this kind. Women, Black people, and other marginalized communities are offered Black squares on #BlackoutTuesday, as well as:

It feels distressingly performative

Don’t get me wrong, visual signals matter. Being seen and represented matters. Changing the literal and figurative landscape matters. But we must be vigilant about not becoming complacent, and being satisfied with implementing this (arguably) easier aspect of activism. 

So, on this International Women’s Day, I invite you to absolutely strike a pose. But I remind us all that after that, we must actually do the work. We can pose, and we can post, but we must also make sure that women are safe, are seen, are paid equitably, and more. The work is the path forward to help us #BreakTheBias.


Lisa Hurley is a writer, speaker, and activist whose work focuses on anti-racism, texturism, and destigmatizing introversion. She is also a passionate advocate for inclusion, equity, and gender equality. Lisa is the Editor-At-Large of Linked Inclusion™, co-host of Real Talk on Racism, co-host of The Introvert Sisters podcast, and a member of the Black Speakers Collection. She has been quoted in Forbes, Essence, and Fast Company, is a contributing writer for No White Saviors, and was selected as one of pocstock’s The Future of Black America Top 50 Leaders for 2022. Lisa is always interested in sharing meaningful conversations! Feel free to connect with her on social media.



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Disrupting The Silence With Respect To Gender based Violence (GBV): A Powerful Discourse



Gender based Violence Photo (Image: AllAfrica)

Gender based Violence (GBV) is not particularly gender specific and can be defined as any act of violence that can result in physical, sexual, psychological harm and suffering. This includes coercion or a forced act, which leads to an arbitrary deprivation of liberty. Gender based Violence has been, and continues to be a social ill with far-reaching repercussions

A Global Perspective

According to the WHO report in 2021, there are an estimated 736 million women that suffer from Gender based Violence (GBV) globally. Almost one in every three women will suffer from acts of Gender based Violence (GBV) and/or have experienced violence starting from 15years and older. Unfortunately, most violence against women is perpetrated by either current/former husbands or intimate partners. Of which, one in four are adolescent girls aged 15 to 19.

Attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, calls to helplines have increased five-fold in some countries as rates of reported intimate partner violence increase. UN women have stated that the restricted movement, social isolation, and economic insecurity during the pandemic have led to a global increase in women’s vulnerability to violence. To curb this, by September 2020, 52 countries had integrated prevention and response to violence against women and girls into COVID-19 response plans, and 121 countries had adopted measures to strengthen services for women survivors of violence during the global crisis. However, more efforts are urgently needed. 

An African Perspective

The impact of GBV; the most prevalent human rights violation in the world, on individuals is typically glaring. However, there’s another complex impact that is often ignored – the socio-economic impact. 

African countries with the highest rates of gender-based violence, such as South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Liberia and Zimbabwe cannot afford any further economic challenges. This makes it imperative for such countries to seek and implement policies and legislation to fight against gender-based violence.

A South African Perspective

In South Africa a report published by the South African Police Service (SAPS) and acknowledged by the Institute for Security Studies, which covers the period between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019, reveals an increase of reported GBV cases compared to previous years. The number of reported sexual offences increased to 52,420 in 2018/19 from 50,108 in 2017/18, most of which were cases of rape.

The reluctance of boys and men that suffer from GBV to speak out (in a bid to create awareness and highlight issues) further compounds the situation. GBV affects women, girls, men, boys and the LGBTQ+ communities.  There needs to be more research, more empirical evidence to carry forward policies, advocacy and strategies to assist, prevent and intervene in GBV against boys and men, the LGBTQ+ community,  women and girls. 

A Zimbabwean Perspective On GBV

According to UNFPA in Zimbabwe, about 1 in 3 women aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical violence and about 1 in 4 women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15. Reports of domestic violence, child marriage, violence by state officials and armed guards, online abuse and other forms of GBV have increased globally and regionally during the pandemic, and Zimbabwe is no exception to this trend (SAFE, 2020). 

In response to GBV cases, Zimbabwe through a multi stakeholder approach has been able to help the survivors. The Victim Friendly Unit of the Zimbabwe Republic Police has been allowing both males and females to report mainly physical violence and they have been able to refer cases for further help. NGOs like the Institute of Women Social Workers have been providing psycho-social support to the survivors and are referring such survivors to other organizations like Women and Law in Southern Africa for legal help. Further to this, survivors are referred to Adult Rape Clinic and Musasa project for medical help and safe shelters respectively. Social workers in Zimbabwe have been able to provide counselling despite the shortage of resources and have also supported the survivors with economic empowerment activities. 

Despite these efforts, men and boys are always left out because of the stigma and Attitude that the service providers have towards men in relation to GBV. 

GBV In The Context Of Domestic Abuse In A Relationship

Abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviours that frighten, intimidate, terrorise, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound someone. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. It can occur within a range of relationships including couples who are married, living together, or dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

The Warning Signs In A Relationship Likely To Have Elements Of Domestic Abuse?

 Self- care is a self-regulatory mechanism where one intentionally puts effort and measures towards their well-being. Well-being would affect and be affected by the different aspects of one’s life and the choices they make. GBV does not just happen, in most cases that are subtle or obvious signs that in more often people choose to ignore for many other reasons.

Violence against women happens across a spectrum, and at the end of that spectrum in most cases, is a man who snapped or a man who violates someone or their partner because they have inherent habits of violence. It should therefore be noted that we all have the power to remedy such behaviours in order to implement societal change. 

Red Flags To Pick Up At The Pre-Relationship Stage

At the beginning of a relationship, there is such bliss, so much love and uncontrollable emotions that often cloud one’s clear judgement. Looking for early warning signs is not so easy, especially if there are underlying issues that could potentially hinder mental clarity and most people tend to not want to be realistic, but to rather get lost in the bliss of the long-awaited ‘force’ of love. During the early stages, where partners are still learning and exploring one another, there is a lot of uncertainty, which makes it a little bit difficult to do a proper due diligence due to influx of emotions, sexual and physical ‘forces’ at the start of relationship.  In most cases, this is where some of the issues that later emerge are missed.

Some of the things that one can do, to have an idea of who a person is, especially if they are seeking a more stable relationship, include the following:  

  • Establishing the values of the other person and engaging beyond the surface,
  • Asking questions to get to understand the person before committing,
  • Things such as life goals, values, belief systems, their past experiences, family background, and their intentions, 
  • Listening with extra care what a person says, to establish how they view life and their approaches to making it work. e.g., biased views on the roles of women and men,
  •  Unpredictability, failing to fulfill set promises etc.
  • Establishing underlying signs of traits such as jealousy, elements of possessiveness, a bad temper with others, impatience and a sense of entitlement. These are some of the ways of determining personalities, characters and habits that would likely lead to domestic abuse. For example, determining if a person has narcissist tendencies could be hard to pick up instantly, because  there is a list of traits that come together to create this unpleasant personality.

Red Flags During The Relationship Can Be Explored Through The Use Of The Power – Control Wheel (DULUTH Model)

During the relationship one must explore the power and control wheel which in this phase/during the relationship is easier to determine whether there are signs of domestic abuse. The wheel has been used to describe and explain domestic situations of battered women. We have seen through numerous research that GBV is progressive and occurs over a spectrum. It all starts with mild gestures that most people deem as acceptable such as harmless remarks, condescending comments here and there, excuses towards responsibilities and the likes. It then escalates to plain verbal utterances, clear and precise control which then escalate to physical and in extreme cases, loss of mental perspective or life. 

Post Relationship

A personal reflection of a GBV survivor, highlights the importance of redefining focusing on better decision-making, learning from mistakes, and healing to ensure that one can better position themselves to build better and more meaningful connections in the future. 

With this said it is important to empower women and to provide them with tools to get themselves out of disempowering situations. However, this should not equate to the disempowerment of men or boys, it should rather create a space to safeguard all rights and to also include men in the narrative to provide methods and means to reduce the dire effects of GBV. This should not leave the boy child bare and unattended, or the man left behind without creating mechanisms to navigate related issues or hidden suffering..

Conversations With Men In Respect Of GBV In Men And LGBTQ Community

GBV amongst men can begin at a very early age in childhood when a parent or caregiver was meant to display characteristics of love and nurture, instead the poor child was presented with maltreatment and abuse. 

Let’s take a moment to imagine the scenario wherein;

“A young boy growing up in a household that is physically and emotionally abusive. His caregivers might hit, slap choke him and on other days he is being insulted, humiliated and sexually abused. These experiences end up being normal to him. He sees nothing wrong with such behaviour and has become desensitised to this life – that becomes the normal frame of his world view as a male adult.”

This is the hidden suffering of boys and men, wherein no one really talks about such experiences. These assaults are frequently not reported, thus creating a perception that GBV and SGBV only occurs to women. Furthermore, some people in the LGBTQ+ community fear being ostracised and humiliated by their microsystems, their communities and even their peers.

There are many cases where men don’t report being abused due to the lack of education, information and advocacy on such concerns. Men who do experience daily abuse often chose not to speak up because it may reduce perceived masculinity. These are the societal factors that influence the decision making to remain silent – Such are his family, education, beliefs and community. 

On the contrary, men who have experienced rape, sexual abuse, violence and choose to speak out might not be taken seriously because the law enforcement does not escalate these issues because they don’t believe a male victim could go through such. Some communities find it shocking, taboo and unbelievable for men to be victims of GBV and SGBV.

The stereotypes of what it means to be a “hegemonic man” don’t give space for men to speak up about GBV and this remains a hidden issue which results in lack of research, advocacy and strategy. So far, the research done indicates that the GBV impacts men in various ways, such as using violence as a means to an end. The symptoms of GBV amongst men contributes to the overwhelming factor of GBV against women and girls. Concurrently Gender based Violence amongst men continues to be a topic that society doesn’t advocate enough.

We Need To “Stop Victim Blaming” And Rather Refer To Survivors-Reset The Narrative

“Victim-blaming” is a general term used to describe a situation where the victims are blamed for the events they experienced. In the paper written by Schwark & Bohner in 2019 defined “Victim-blaming” in discourses related to GBV tends to implicate victims and position them as responsible for their own safety, with little or nothing being said about the perpetrators’ actions. This myth, one of many “rape myths”, is reinforced by mainstream media reporting.

The meaning attached to the term “victim”, to label people who endured GBV and abuse, is increasingly considered problematic and replaced in activists’ and allies’ vocabulary with the term “survivor”, which reverses the power balance. While the term “victim” equates the existence of a person to their experience with trauma and places them in a position of vulnerability, the term “survivor” implies a future ahead. It is within this premise that we argue for the term “survivor” in such contexts instead of the term “victim” may have an impact on the misattributed judgement of blame and in turn improve reporting across the board for all those that are affected by GBV.

Help Mechanisms Include: 

  • Support programs – Family and Marriage Society of south Africa (FAMSA) for counselling.
  • Tears Foundation for CRISIS interventions.
  • The Trauma Centre for trauma counselling, and the Thuthuzela Care Centres, which are the anti-rape strategy centres to help victims from secondary victimisation.
  • Helping victims and survivors with self-help programs – individual development, counselling and coaching to rebuild and restore hope in their lives- Changing Lanes Africa-: Self-awareness courses for women.
  • This is normally through shelters, which in South Africa to a large extent, are much better resourced than in other African countries which may have many challenges with providing adequate support.
  • Talk about your experiences to help others- Simanye Clinic Podcasts and Conversations with my brothers.


  • To have boundaries and enforce them from the on-set.
  • Be realistic and don’t ignore red flags.
  • Reposition yourself for better life.
  • Use protection orders and maintenance orders to safeguard your rights.
  • Remember you are a survivor.
  • Every one of us should educate the youth about such issues and how they can be avoided or at the least alleviate the burden of GBV.
  • Men should be included in the solution to reduce violence against women and children
  • Men and members of the LGBTQ+ community also suffer from GBV but there are few to no statistics as they remain silent- the hidden suffering.
  • GBV should not be seen as something that happens to specific people, rather should be addressed across the spectrum within which it occurs.


We acknowledge Dr Maribanyana Lebeko who is part of the advisory for Simanye Clinic for his assistance with respect to compilation, editing and proofreading of this article.


Article By: Thandiwe Maretlane, Lindo Radebe, Linah Ruparanganda and Chiedza Jowa and Dr Kim Lamont-Mbawuli. In collaboration with the National Association of Social workers, Zimbabwe and Simanye Clinic, South Africa.



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