10539A behavior-based intervention investigating the effects of a gender-based violence (GBV) and sexual assault educational curriculum on improving male attitudes toward women in 4 sub districts in South Africa


N. Madubela * (1), S. Voster (1), C. Wagner (1), M. De Vos (1), M. Vaynos (1) (1) NACOSA, Cape Town, South Africa


BACKGROUND: The rights of women, girls and other vulnerable populations continue to be compromised by high levels of GBV in South Africa. The prevalence of the issue, compounded by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, has triggered a 'secondary pandemic' marred by rising GBV and femicide (GBVf). In 2021, No Means No Worldwide (NMNW) and NACOSA launched the IMPOWER Boys program, an evidence-based intervention, delivering an educational sexual and GBV prevention curriculum.
DESCRIPTION: Overall, 16 male instructors were trained to facilitate an 8-hour curricular (4 classes, 2 hours each) in 4 sub districts namely: Klipfontein, Mitchells Plain, Tshwane and Bojanala. The target population was n=1120 boys (280 per sub district) aged between 10-24 years, in 7 months (August 2021 ' December 2021). The program was designed to increase gender equitable attitudes, learn skills to defend equality, avoid violence, ask for consent, and intervene when witnessing or anticipating sexual assault. The Intervention was delivered using 3 models: In school (within school hours), after school (extracurricular) and out of school (in community spaces). Data on attitudes toward women were collected anonymously at baseline by administering pre-questionnaires and post questionnaires, and compared with baseline
LESSONS LEARNED: Overall participants had significantly higher positive attitudes toward women at follow-up. Median age is 19 years. 65% participants > 19 years. The percentage of boys who successfully intervened when witnessing violence was 78% for verbal harassment, 75% for physical threat, and 74% for physical or sexual assault. Data shows noteworthy gains in knowledge towards consent, intervening during cases of violence and gender roles shift in gender equitable attitudes with 82% able to provide desired responses. An average of 42% change between the pre/post intervention data, a significant 85% were able to accurately recollect core knowledge topics in the post questionnaires.
CONCLUSIONS: A multifaceted response is needed to enhance the country's fight against GBVf and HIV/AIDS in a COVID-19 pandemic. This standardized 4-week training program proved to be effective in improving attitudes toward women and increasing the likelihood of successful intervention when witnessing GBV.