"Tackling Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), one awkward dad conversation at a time"

13 December 2021 | Story Thania Gopal. Read time 4 min.
Dr Chivaugn Gordon, Head of Undergraduate Obstetrics & Gynaecology Education said her TED Talk was also a tribute to her father, who raised her to be an empowered feminist.
Dr Chivaugn Gordon, Head of Undergraduate Obstetrics & Gynaecology Education said her TED Talk was also a tribute to her father, who raised her to be an empowered feminist.

Dr Chivaugn Gordon, Head of Undergraduate Obstetrics & Gynaecology Education in the Faculty of Health Sciences relates her personal journey of presenting a TED Talk, how it came about and what it means to her.

On the 27th of June, 2021, I received an email from one of my students, Neo Mahlatsi, who had seen the TEDxUCT speaker applications, and suggested I apply. Well, I spilled my tea and fell off my chair, but Neo felt that the world needed to hear more about my work in gender-based violence. My application was accepted and a gruelling 2-month bootcamp of training and rehearsing ensued. We were five speakers, with topics from Afro-tech to schooling for deaf children. 
 

“But how does one cover a topic as vast as intimate partner violence in thirteen minutes? With difficulty!”

My topic was titled "Tackling Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), one awkward dad conversation at a time". Not one for brevity, I had to cut my manuscript down several times, since one is allowed a maximum of 13 minutes - unless you are Brene Brown or more famous than Kim Kardashian. But how does one cover a topic as vast as intimate partner violence in thirteen minutes? With difficulty! My talk covered several areas: my experience of introducing my IPV teaching into the curriculum; the brutal realisation that so much IPV was happening within my student body, and that victims and perpetrators alike sat in my classrooms; and my need to start therapy to cope with what the students were telling me. I also turned the mirror on myself, to wonder why I myself have never experienced IPV, and this led to the talk being a tribute to my father, a single parent (after my mom's death), who raised me to be an empowered feminist. The impact of my dad's male voice on my development led my talk to implore fathers, brothers, uncles, indeed MEN everywhere to have frank discussions with children about IPV.
 

“My talk covered several areas: my experience of introducing my IPV teaching into the curriculum; the brutal realisation that so much IPV was happening within my student body, and that victims and perpetrators alike sat in my classrooms; and my need to start therapy to cope with what the students were telling me.”

The other speakers were equally fascinating, but due to the pandemic, training was done online, and we only met face-to-face at the rehearsal, which was held at the Irma Stern Museum. We were told that our talks were not to be given live due to the COVID regulations, but that they would be pre-recorded and screened somewhere. At the last minute, the regulations relaxed and we were in fact able to invite family and friends to the screening of our talks, which was held at the New Lecture Theatre. I hope that my talk will inspire deep thought, consideration and reconsideration in our efforts to address GBV. What I know is that my father was in that audience, hearing the applause for his only child, and he was moved beyond measure. It was an absolutely unforgettable moment, and that alone was worth all the effort, whether anyone watches my video or not! So thank you, Neo, and the TED team, for a truly momentous event in my life. And, for my thirteen minutes of fame.


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