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#NOEXCUSE opens doors to support centre in Alexander township

Following the 2021 launch of the #NoExcuse Bride Armour campaign ahead of 16 Days of Activism, Carling Black Label has further intensified efforts to combat Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and decrease the incidence rate throughout the year; by opening a Support Centre for victims of abuse and transgressors looking to make a change. On Wednesday, the brand in close partnership with Father A Nation, and supported by Lifeline opened the doors to the Support Centre at an intimate ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by locals and Community Leaders of Alexander Township at Nobuhle Hostel, Gauteng where the Centre is located.

The Brand’s partnership with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) Lifeline and Father-A-Nation dates back to 2018 with the distribution of an online booklet called “No Excuse for Abuse” to give practical guidance on ending GBV. The booklet was written by Craig Wilkinson, best-selling author and founder of the Father A Nation NGO. In the same year, the brand launched the isiZathu radio series, which also marked the start of our partnership with the NGO, Lifeline as sponsosrs of the Stop Gender Violence Helpline (0800 150 150). Through the Helpline, brand’s aim has been to support those affected by GBV, reducing its occurrence, empowering those impacted by GBV to start the healing process, and giving an entry point for perpetrators to start the counselling process to stop committing GBV. It is a national toll-free helpline for survivors, witnesses and perpetrators of gender-based violence.

In early 2020, during the lockdown period, there was a concerning spike in the incidences of GBV. Carling Black Label’s #NoExcuse movement in partnership with Father A Nation (FAN)and Lifeline, used the Helpline to create a Whatsapp based platform using the same number(0800 150 150), to enable potential victims and perpetrators to be able to have a ‘silent’ conversation with a counsellor or a mentor. Upon launch of the initiative, the line received on average 5 000 unique interactions per week.  40% of the interactions were men seeking mentorship that de-escalated situations before they turned violent. More than 50 000 people have received help using this line.

The Support Centre has been described by the Carling Black Label team as a physical representation of the WhatsApp line. ”Through the #NoExcuse Support Centre we would like to make a change in this community. The centre has two main objectives which is to provide counselling and support in a safe professional environment for victims of GBV. Our second object is to prevent GBV from happening by providing a variety of programmes and interventions aimed at restoring, equipping and inspiring men to be good mentors, role models and fathers who stand against any form of abuse.” Said Carling Black Label Brand Manager, Candice Van Den Boesch.

The centre will be managed by Father-A-Nation (FAN) in collaboration with Lifeline. Community Leader & experienced FAN mentor, Charles Mphephu who has a long track record of working with men in Alexander will be managing the Centre’s daily activities with the assistance of an additional; FAN mentor and trained counsellors from Lifeline. “This is truly the kind of action we need to put an end to GBV in the community. The Centre will be a place of safety and the beginning of healing, not just the individuals but the community at large. We would like to the thank Carling Black Label, our team at Father-A-Nation and Lifeline for seeing the dire need for a place of safety for victims, witnesses and even the perpetrators. Said Mphephu.

Mphephu’s utterances were supported by Van Den Boesch who said “The onus is on men to seek and strive to ‘being better’ within their household and communities. This much-needed process of healing, inspiring and equipping men to be great role models, fathers and mentors begins with men consciously holding themselves accountable for their actions. The ripple effects of such action will be men holding themselves and the men around them to a higher standard as Champions for Change who use their strength only for good and stand against any form of abuse.”

Through the #NoExcuse movement and various campaigns over the years, Carling Black Label has used the brand’s influence and status to positively impact society. Having launched in 2017, the movement’s objectives are to drive awareness, engage in progressive dialogues with men and women, as well as to provide tools for communities to take constructive action to drive change. To engage with the brand, consumers can visit the #NoExcuse website , men can also participate in the Champions 4 Change online course . To support the Bride Armour Campaign, the #NoExcuse petition  to the Department of Home Affairs to amend the wedding vows/wedding formulas currently being used in their offices and by marriage officers to include an acknowledgement from the Groom “To love, protect and NEVER ABUSE” his Bride.

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