Local NGO provides legal support and other free resources to victims of domestic abuse and gender-based violence
The Warrior Institute is at the forefront of fighting to end the cycle of abuse and gender-based violence in South Africa.
The Warrior Institute works to eliminate domestic violence in South Africa and makes information and resources available to survivors of gender-based violence via its free online portal. (iStock)
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The country has been left reeling after the senseless killings of 19-year-old UCT student, Uyinene Mrwetyana, and 25-year-old boxing champion Leighandre Jegels

Their tragic deaths are a grim reminder of countless other acts of gender-based violence (GBV) that continue to go unpunished in South Africa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has since commented on the violence perpetrated against both women, declaring this past week to be "a very dark period for us as a country... a stain on our national conscience."

Protecting and educating our children should be at the forefront of all efforts to eradicate this scourge says local NGO, the Warrior Institute. 

Unless we can decrease children's exposure to domestic abuse and gender-based violence, urges the NGO, we will never effect change, and the cycle of domestic abuse will continue to repeat itself. 

"It's becoming clear from the research that how we behave as adults in the home affects our children's neurochemistry. If they are exposed to violence or other abusive behaviours between intimate partners, their neurological pathways rewire to associate those behaviours with normal relational conflict," says Yvonne Wakefield, founder of the Warrior Project. 

"This then is the blueprint through which they approach relationships later in life," she adds. 

The social impact initiative works to eliminate domestic violence in South Africa and makes information and resources available to the victims of domestic abuse and GBV, including children and teens, via its free online portal. 

Their resources include services like Childline, FAMSA and Lifeline, as well as legal and other support.


Also see: "How boys learn domestic abuse, and how girls learn to forgive it"


The psychological impact of exposure to violence during childhood 

Her sentiments are rooted in the findings presented by the World Health Organization's Preventing Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Against Women report

In it, the WHO asserts that exposure to violence during childhood increases the likelihood of intimate partner violence perpetuation in men up to 4-fold. 

It also increases the likelihood of violence acceptance either as a victim or perpetrator in future partnerships and high-risk situations. 

From a psychological perspective, the experience of witnessing domestic violence during childhood leaves the brain permanently altered explains psychologist Blake Griffin Edwards in Psychology Today

Growing up with an abusive parent instils in children a "fear of harm or abandonment, excessive worry or sadness, guilt, inability to experience empathy, habitual lying, low frustration tolerance, emotional distancing, poor judgment, shame, and fear about the future," concludes Blake. 

To access the resources provided by the Warrior Project visit, www.thewarriorproject.org.za

Compiled for Parent24 by Lesley-Anne Johannes

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