The Girls’ Friendly Society has created a male equivalent in South Africa so that young men and women learn together to prevent abuse.

The GFS World Council, meeting last year in Australia, resolved to dedicate the 25th of each month as Orange Day in support of a program to decrease the abuse of woman and girls. GFS asks its members to wear something orange, speak out on issues of abuse, and do something about it.

In South Africa, GFS decided that the issue could not be tackled properly without involving boys, and so it created a Boys’ Friendly Society.

“We cannot fight gender-based violence if we do not raise boys with the values of respecting girls and raise them together,” said Thembeka Pama, world president of GFS, who is based in Johannesburg.

GFS South Africa has worked with the country’s Commission for Gender Equality and Gift of the Givers to create an education program. It was launched Feb. 25 at the Church of Christ the King in Sophiatown, Johannesburg.

“The facilitator first spoke about gender stereotypes at our home and communities,” Pama said. “She informed the young people that the act of abuse can be physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, and economical.”

Adapted from ACNS