When will we stop celebrating abusers?
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?