What do you have to do on a daily basis to avoid sexual assault?

Question posed to participants on the second day of MenEngage Africa's Policy Advocacy Training.

What do you have to do on a daily basis to avoid sexual assault?

That was the question posed to participants in the Women’s Health, Masculinities and Empowerment: Policy Advocacy Training on its second day, 02nd September 2016.

Participants were asked to divide themselves into groups that identify as women and men and they were required to list all precautionary measures that they have to take in order to reduce their risk of getting sexually assaulted or harassed. Expectedly, the directive resulted in women grouping themselves together and men doing the same. A third group also emerged and they referred to themselves as being non-conforming. These were men who identified themselves as being homosexual. They argued that even though they are men their concerns were not similar to those of heterosexual men, hence, the need to form their own group to articulate their fears when it comes to sexual assault.

On flip charts, the three groups began writing down measures they have to take on a daily basis to avoid sexual assault or harassment.

The exercise showed that women face a greater risk of sexual assault or harassment and, therefore, take more precautions to guard against sexual assault. They were closely followed by the non-conforming group or men who identify as homosexual.

Men who identify as heterosexual also made a list of measures they have to take to avoid sexual assault. But after much reflection and deliberation, they decided that they have nothing much to be concerned about. The group decided to scrap all the measures they had written down. One member of the group summed it up when he said “it’s like asking a lion in the bush what it does to protect itself from becoming a prey”.

See the responses given in the accompanying images.