Firstly, let me state for the record that Gender-Based Violence (GBV) has always been an epidemic eating away at the moral fabric of our country. Only when it is publicized do more and more people pay attention, protests organized, conversations kickstarted, and people in power say their names.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said their names yesterday;
These are just recent cases. We know so many more:
The list could go on forever.
And therein lies my sadness. The knowledge that so many young and old females die violently at the hands of men.
She hung on a tree, a month away from giving birth to her first child.
What breaks my heart is that you STILL get men that ask:
“WHAT DID SHE DO?”.
And that is the reality of being a woman in South Africa. The expectation that you should talk a certain way, dress a certain way, or even behave in a way that does not see you being at risk of losing your life.
I am publicly raising an almost 3-year-old daughter, who, at her age, confidently tells us “NO”. According to patriarchy and male entitlement, how dare a woman say no. Even in the midst of a very loud no, young girls and women are raped.
The reality of the matter is that a man that feels entitled to a woman’s loyalty, love, respect, and body sees nothing wrong with their stance. And convincing THAT guy that no woman owes him her vagina or loyalty is a waste of breath. But we shall not stop speaking!
It’s the young ones growing up that we need to have better conversations with.
Regardless of the amazing job we do in raising confident young girls, they will still get into relationships with arrogant young boys that think it is okay to insert their penises where they don’t belong.
Sadly, men that use and abuse women also become parents, and are they going to teach their sons not to raise their hands on women? Even though they say “you don’t hit a woman'”, they will still witness their fathers do it, and children learn from observation, not from what their parents say. Facts.
At this point, I stand a hopeless mom, praying that our humanity is restored.
“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.”
I pray that no man finds her strength intimidating and that none strips her of her dignity.