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Abuse exposed

Abuse usually happens behind closed doors. Domestic violence is seldom talked about openly. So the abuse continues unabated and the perpetrators go unpunished. The 16 Days campaign is a welcome voice, exposing violence and abuse by raising awareness.

POWA (People Opposing Women Abuse) defines abuse as any form of behaviour that controls another person, causes physical harm or fear, makes someone do things they do want to do, or prevents them from doing things they want to do. Abuse can be verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, material or financial. Abused women usually experience multiple forms of abuse.


HIV and abuse

The 16 Days campaign coincides with World Aids Week. The correlation between HIV infection and violence against women and children is obvious. Statistics show that women and even children are victims to high levels of sexual assault, rape, domestic violence and intimate femicide (murdered by their partner). Recent UNAIDS/WHO statistics reveal that the number of children living with HIV/Aids has doubled since 2000. About 56% of all people living with HIV/Aids are women (3,200,000). Sadly, women are more prone to HIV infection than men both anatomically and when there is sexual assault involved. Tragically, the virus usually progresses faster in women than in men. Comparatively; if a man and a woman are infected with the same strain of HIV, the same viral load, at the same age and social circumstances, the woman will live about five years less than that man.


Taking charge

The level of wellbeing and the future growth potential of society are largely dependent on women. When women control their own lives and incomes, they invest in themselves, their children and their communities.

The law is on our side. “IT IS THE PURPOSE of the (Domestic Violence) Act to afford the victims of domestic violence the maximum protection from domestic abuse that the law can provide; and to introduce measures which seek to ensure that the relevant organs of state give full effect to the provisions of this Act, and thereby KO convey that the State is committed to the elimination of domestic violence.”

But the law alone is not enough. Victims of abuse need support, counselling and practical assistance.


Becoming a survivor

If you are experiencing domestic violence, you may believe that it’s easier to stay with your abuser than to try to leave and risk retaliation. However, there are many things you can do to protect yourself while getting out of an abusive situation, and there are people waiting to help.

  • When considering leaving an abusive relationship, you may be putting yourself at extra risk, so it is important to develop a plan for safe departure. You can contact a POWA centre or NICRO Women’s Support Centre.
  • You can approach a shelter facility, which is a safe place to stay for a while – away from your abuser, where you can receive support, counselling and be able to think calmly about what to do next.
  • The law is on your side. The Domestic Violence Act provides you with legal ways to stop your abuser from harming you. Some of these ways are: laying a charge of assault or trespass, getting an interdict or eviction order, or getting a divorce. For more information go to
  • Domestic violence leaves psychological scars that run deep. The trauma of what you’ve been through can stay with you long after you’ve escaped the abusive situation. Counselling and support groups for domestic abuse survivors can help you process what you’ve been through and learn how to build new and healthy relationships.


The community

The law recognises that domestic violence is not a private matter – it is a serious crime against society. In fact in the preamble to the Domestic Violence Act, it is described as a ‘social evil’! We have a responsibility to speak out when we know about abuse.

You can help:

  • Listen to and believe a woman who confides in you; ask her how you can help and what she needs to feel safer.
  • Respect that any information an abused women gives you is confidential.
  • Support the right of all women to live in safety.
  • The Domestic Violence Act says any health-care worker, social worker, teacher or person who suspects that a child has been abused must report this immediately to the police. The Family Violence, Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Units (FCS) of the South African Police Services are specially trained to deal sensitively with adults and children who have been abused.
  • Intervene if you witness behaviour that you believe is violent or abusive – taking into account your personal safety and that of others in the situation. Where there is a possibility of danger, call the police for assistance.
  • Inform yourself and other people about women abuse; arrange a talk for your school, union, church or community group.

If you suspect abuse and need help to know what to do about it, call LifeAssist.


By Karen Simpson




Top 10 reasons why men need to take care of themselves

The month of November is Men’s Health Awareness month, better known as Movember. Here are the top 10 men’s health issues that need attention all year around.

  • Colon and rectal cancer: It’s one of the most commonly occurring internal cancers and the second-most common cause of cancer related death, after lung cancer.
  • Heart disease: A man’s risk of heart disease begins to rise steeply after 45.
  • Prostate cancer: It is one of the leading killers of men globally.
  • Accidents: Also called unintentional injuries. This is the number three cause of death among men.
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: A group of diseases that affect the lungs.
  • Stroke: Managing your high blood pressure can lower your risk of a stroke.
  • Diabetes: Most men are unaware of this until they develop vision loss, kidney disease or erectile dysfunction.
  • Suicide: Men are almost four times more likely than women to successfully commit suicide.
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease: These diseases usually occur after age 65 but are also on the rise among men in their 30s, 40s and 50s.
  • Throat and lung cancer: Cigarette smoking is the major cause of lung cancer.

Truth be told guys, when it comes to men’s health issues, the stakes are too high for you to remain complacent. But it’s never too late to adjust your lifestyle.

A guy’s to-do list!

Stick this list on your bathroom mirror or on the fridge – somewhere to remind yourself to take better care of you.

  • Eliminate foods made from white flour from your diet.
  • Stay away from dangerous trans fats i.e. take-away food, fried foods, biscuits, breads etc.
  • Take a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement
  • Incorporate weight training into your exercise routine.
  • Maintain your optimal weight.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Protect your prostate – get tested.
  • Maintain close relationships.

Small changes can add years to your life and it is never too late to start taking care of yourself.




Prostate cancer prevention: What you can do

You can reduce the risk of prostate cancer by exercising regularly and eating a low-fat diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fish. Maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle can help prevent prostate cancer and also other cancers and health conditions such as heart disease.

There’s no sure way to prevent prostate cancer, but you can make some choices that might help reduce your risk. Prostate cancer is complicated; researchers are still trying to understand the full range of factors that cause it and to determine which prevention strategies are safe and the most effective.

Experts know that diet and lifestyle choices play a part in prostate cancer risk. However, some medications and supplements once thought to show promise in preventing prostate cancer have recently been found to be ineffective. Prevention trials are still ongoing and more research is needed in this area.

While any man can get prostate cancer, it’s most common in older men, men with a family history of prostate cancer and in black men. While age, genetics and race are factors you can’t change, there are some factors you can control.


Nutrition and prevention of prostate cancer

So far, research does not support definite nutritional guidelines for preventing prostate cancer. However, you can reasonably act on the following suggestions:

  • Don’t overeat. Eat moderate-sized portions and keep your kilojoules under control.
  • Avoid high-fat foods. Prostate cancer rates vary greatly from one country to another, with the highest rates appearing in countries where people tend to eat a lot of fat. A diet high in saturated fats (such as animal fats found in red meat) may pose the greatest risk.
  • Make healthy choices. Choose whole-grain foods, such as brown rice and whole-wheat bread. Limit sweets and salt.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation. Generally, this means no more than two drinks a day for men.
  • Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. A diet high in fruits and vegetables has been linked to a lower risk of various kinds of cancer. Recent studies, however, cast doubt on the theory that lycopene ƒ{ an antioxidant found in tomatoes ƒ{ lowers prostate cancer risk. But don’t stop eating tomatoes. Eating plenty of all kinds of vegetables, including tomatoes, may help ward off prostate cancer and other cancers.
  • Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. While a diet high in most kinds of fat is linked to a higher risk of cancer and other health problems, there is an exception. Omega-3 fatty acids ƒ{ a type of fat found in cold-water fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel ƒ{ appear to reduce the risk of certain cancers.
  • Eat soy products and legumes. Soybeans and other legumes contain phytoestrogens, which are plant-based chemicals that behave like the hormone estrogen in the human body. These chemicals might help to prevent prostate cancer. In fact, one possible explanation for lower rates of prostate cancer in Asian men is that they eat more soy protein.
  • Drink green tea. Green tea contains antioxidants such as polyphenols that may help prevent certain cancers and other health problems.


Obesity and prostate cancer

Researchers have not established a direct link between obesity and the incidence of prostate cancer. However, obesity might affect levels of hormones related to prostate cancer risk.

Strategies for preventing obesity include:

  • Following guidelines for a healthy diet
  • Meeting with your doctor to develop a programme for physical activity
  • Doing some form of aerobic exercise for 30 minutes or more daily.

Caring Families

Spend time together as a family. Relationships are somewhat like a garden. Without proper care and attention the weeds take over. Find activities each person enjoys and participate enthusiastically. If you cannot actually engage in the activity be sure to support one another’s interests through attention and encouragement.


Consumer tip

Before making a purchase think about what you need, what is the purpose and, most importantly, do you really need it – or is it just nice to have.


What every guy over 40 needs to know

Chances are you get your car tuned regularly, never skip an oil change, and keep it buffed and polished until it sparkles. But do you take such good care of yourself?

Maintenance schedule for your body

Investing a little time and money in preventive maintenance on your body will pay big dividends later and increase the chances of enjoying your grandchildren.

  • Every year have a physical exam for cancer (skin, thyroid, lymph nodes, prostate and rectum) and a dental exam.
  • Every 1 to 2 years have your doctor check your height/weight measurements, blood pressure and vision. He or she should also check for blood in a stool sample.
  • Every 3 to 5 years have your cholesterol and blood sugar checked and, after age 50, have a colonoscopy to check for colon cancer.
  • When you are over 65 years old, every 1 to 3 years have your doctor check your thyroid hormone, hearing and urine.

Additional tests

  • Chest x-ray. If you are or were a smoker, you should have a chest x-ray at about age 40 and periodically as recommended by your doctor after that.
  • Testosterone screening. If you have symptoms such as a low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, fatigue or depression, you may want to ask your doctor about a testosterone screening.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases. If you are sexually active and at risk for an STD, you should be checked periodically. Playing it safe by remaining monogamous or using a condom is the better option.


Once a month check your skin for changing moles or early skin cancer, testicles for any lumps that might indicate cancer, and mouth with a torch to see if there are any cancerous or pre-cancerous lesions.

In addition to seeing your doctor regularly, watch your weight and exercise regularly. 


  • Have an influenza vaccine every year.
  • A Tdap booster at least every 10 years will help prevent tetanus (lockjaw), diphtheria and whooping cough.
  • Have a pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine at age 65 or earlier if you have risk factors, such as heart failure, lung disease or alcoholism.




Small lifestyle changes – big savings

Without even noticing, many of us have fallen into the habit of mindlessly spending money on unnecessary things, every day. Take a good look at your lifestyle and spending habits and see for yourself.

Who wants to be a millionaire?

Who doesn’t want to retire early with no debt and millions in the bank? Unfortunately, there is no quick fix. The formula is simple: spend less and save more. If that sounds too good to be true, here’s the rest: to save is going to cost you and you may have to make a few lifestyle and spending changes, too.

Think like a millionaire. Here are a few suggestions to help you:

Count the costs

Set up a budget and make a thorough investigation of how much money you have and where it is going to. Take an honest look at your lifestyle habits and what they cost you. Next, analyse your daily expenditures. Write it down in a notebook or get hold of an app that will automatically track your expenses for you.

Change your shopping and buying habits

  • Watch when and how often you go to the shops. Know for a fact that the longer you stay, the more you are going to spend! Learn to delay gratification when you see something you want to buy. Yes, it is possible; walk away and return an hour or two later, or promise yourself to come back tomorrow.
  • Eat before you leave or you will be tempted to buy everything that looks and smells good.
  • Watch the seasons. Buy in-season food that is plentiful. Do the same with clothing; wait for the turn-of-the-season sales but don’t go on the first day. Wait it out, those prices are going to drop further as the weeks go by. Don’t be fooled; remember that saving 5% on a R10 item is virtually no saving at all while saving 5% on a R1000 or R10000 item is substantial.
  • Put a moratorium (freeze) on buying fast food and eating out, including your daily cuppa coffee, soda drink, sandwich, muffin or other “grab and eat” item of food. Cook from scratch and take your own, home-made meal to work.
  • Buy to save. Successful money-savers invest their money, for example, in further education, a reliable (not flashy) car, a comfortable (not luxury) house, reliable energy-saving household appliances, etc.

Change your banking habits

Banks are not welfare institutions; they are there to make money out of you. Find one that gives you the best deals on interest and service fees. Break the habit of making numerous cash withdrawals and use your debit card instead. Credit cards tempt and trick you into thinking you have money when you don’t. Speak to your bank about its online banking options and how to make “free” online payments. Never withdraw cash from another bank’s ATM, walk the extra mile! If you are disciplined enough, use cash only.

Change your entertainment habits

Check out how much you are paying for the “privilege” of flipping through endless TV channels you seldom watch and then switch to a cheaper option. Consider buying Netflix or using iTunes for entertainment. Reduce other fixed cost subscriptions to magazines and gym membership that you seldom use. Cut back on lavish outings and holidays and rather plan and save-up for one really memorable all inclusive family holiday during the off season when prices are low.

Change your mind-set

Thomas Antunez, a self-styled young millionaire who owned five Porsches and three Mercedes-Benzes before the age of 35, posted this warning: “You can count those as the eight biggest financial mistakes I’ve ever made and it all had to do with my inability to be content with what I already had. Believe me, possession of ‘things’ is a race no one can win. Learning to want the things you already have will save you an incredible amount of money.”



Coles, S. 2017. The small habits that can bring big savings. Retrieved from:

Elkins, K. 2015. Twenty-one lifestyle changes to make if you want to save more money. Retrieved from:

Loudenback, T. 2017. Twelve small lifestyle habits you can adopt to save more money. Retrieved from:


Consumer tip

Don’t buy things you don’t need even if they are on sale. Many of us buy things on sale thinking that a need for it will come in the near future. But more often than not, we just stock these things in our cabinets to gather dust. If you really want to save money, don’t spend it on unnecessary things.


Caring families

Show appreciation.  It is important to be aware of the efforts our family members make and express our gratitude with meaningful words and gestures. This can be done simply by saying, “Thank you for doing the dishes,” or perhaps leaving a quick note where they can find it. It is also important to appreciate others not only for what they do, but also for who they are.

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