When will we stop cel­e­brat­ing abusers?

CityPress - - Voices - Rhodé Mar­shall voices@city­press.co.za

August should be the most im­por­tant month of the year be­cause it cre­ates aware­ness about the rights of South African womxn. For some rea­son, one al­ways ex­pects that there would be more con­ver­sa­tion about how womxn are treated and the dif­fi­cul­ties they en­dure every day. But in­stead, it’s the month we are re­minded that we have a min­is­ter of women in the pres­i­dency called Su­san Sha­bangu, who is very vis­i­ble all of a sud­den. And, every year, we watch the August faux pas as gov­ern­ment, non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions and the media an­nounce their cam­paigns.

But who are we kid­ding?

Why would womxn be given a “grace” month from the as­saults that they en­dure every other month of the year? Once again, August has been par­tic­u­larly grue­some. Womxn have had to swal­low big pills as the pub­lic, spurred by media houses, con­tin­ues to af­firm our abusers. The media holds a pow­er­ful po­si­tion in its abil­ity to nor­malise vi­o­lence against womxn by re­peat­edly cel­e­brat­ing – or not call­ing out – the pow­er­ful and ar­ro­gant men who abuse us.

On Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, while lis­ten­ing to the af­ter­noon-drive show on Power FM, which is also kick­ing off its amaz­ing 987 Women cam­paign, the sports bul­letin is on air. Marks Maponyane is con­tribut­ing to a story. The very same Maponyane who has spent the greater part of this year mak­ing head­lines for the al­leged abuse of his wife of 39 years, Sylvia Maponyane.

Just be­fore that, the in­ter­net erupted as DJ Eu­phonik, the for­mer boyfriend and al­leged abuser of Bo­nang Matheba, tweeted: “Such a pity that on woman’s month there are FE­MALES per­pet­u­at­ing abuse lies when our coun­try is full woman who R AC­TU­ALLY go­ing through it (sic).”

Many womxn on Twit­ter called Eu­phonik out for be­ing abu­sive on so­cial media. Every few months he al­ludes to Bo­nang and the ac­cu­sa­tions she made against him. His bul­ly­ing has been head­lined as “spice”. Just like a news re­port this week that re­ferred to Brickz be­ing con­victed of rap­ing a mi­nor as a “sex scan­dal”.

That same evening, it pained me as I had to lis­ten to Eu­phonik speak at an Ndalo Media event – a com­pany owned by a womxn. His Twit­ter rants at some point even be­came the punch line of the evening.

When will the media re­alise how we per­pet­u­ate the abu­sive be­hav­iour of men? There is a shock­ingly long list of pow­er­ful men whose abuse of womxn has barely dented their ca­reers.

Why do these fa­mous men get away with vi­o­lence against womxn? The an­swer may be ob­vi­ous. They’re rich, pow­er­ful and fa­mous and their abu­sive be­hav­iour is ig­nored be­cause ac­knowl­edg­ing it is a greater dis­com­fort than ig­nor­ing it.

Womxn’s lives are de­stroyed, but their abusers carry on liv­ing full lives, car­ried by the boys that throng around them.

The lack of re­spect that our cul­ture has for womxn is stag­ger­ing. This is the same rea­son a rape-ac­cused be­came our pres­i­dent and is now a key­note speaker at womxn’s events. Hell, even Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng is giv­ing womxn’s month lec­tures.

We need to stop let­ting them get away with it. We need to shout loudly every time we see abuse be­ing nor­malised in the media.

Why do these fa­mous men get away with vi­o­lence against womxn?

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