Stand united to stop women abuse
THERE is nothing remotely excusable about violence against women anywhere, at any time. Nothing. Let’s just be blunt about it. Criminal violence against anybody is a public health problem in epidemic proportions. We see it in our streets, in our homes and in our communities. Violence of any sort is an affront to society, an abomination that is simply unacceptable.
That is why many people across our country have been debating the pros and cons of the National Prosecuting Authority’s decision not to prosecute a mother, known as the “Warrior Woman or Warrior Mama” in her community, who was accused of murdering and attempting to murder three men who allegedly raped her daughter in a Lady Frere village.
The mother said when she was informed that three men were raping her daughter, she called the police, but when they did not answer, she took a kitchen knife and went to the house where her daughter was being raped.
She stabbed the three men, and one of them died.
According to the community, all three men were notorious troublemakers in the village. The NPA has said it does not want to get into the details of the evidence, but it does not condone a situation where people take the law into their own hands.
The truth is violence, is violence, is violence.
And one life lost to violence is such a horrible thing.
We know stopping violence against women requires strong, coordinated action by our communities. Therefore, it is important that our communities across the province have an absolute resolve that our sisters, mothers and everyone are liberated from the scourge of violence.
All of us need to stand up and say, “Stop the violence”.
We are tired of the violence. I’ve seen many cultures, including my own, seek to justify this over many, many years; many decades and many centuries. It simply doesn’t stand up to reason. It is – under all circumstances plainly wrong.
I don’t claim to have a master plan that will solve the problem, but we’re coming together to symbolise our unity against violence.
Experts say violence against women is not confined to a specific culture, region or country, or to particular groups of women within a society. Rather, its roots lie in historically unequal power relations between men and women, and persistent discrimination against women.
And it takes many forms, ranging from rape to physical beatings, dowry murder and sexual harassment.
That is why violence against women is a major public health issue – and everyone has an important role to play in stopping it.
We should all be interested in how we bring about measurable, definable, real social change, and how to unleash life’s full opportunities for women and girls across our beloved Rainbow Nation. Here’s how we can all help end the scourge of violence in our communities:
Take the pledge to be part of the solution of ending violence;
Start the conversation with your family, neighbours and coworkers about creating healthy and equitable relationships, respecting boundaries, and ending violence;
Prevention efforts should start early by promoting healthy, respectful relationships, addressing the beliefs, attitudes and messages that create a climate that condones sexual violence;
Change societal attitudes and beliefs that perpetuate and make excuses for violence, particularly against women;
Promote safety and respect in all situations;
Have the church play a greater role in community initiatives;
Place a greater emphasis on family structure in the community through education, and create programmes to steer youths away from the streets;
Build a network of resounding voices that support and advance and promote the safety, liberty and dignity of all of us; and
Work hard to improve safety in our communities by reporting crime to the police and, if we are not happy with the service, lodging formal complaints with police management, the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) or other structures.
Local, national and international experience clearly demonstrates that addressing crime requires the consistent application of appropriate, longterm strategies. It is very important for people to realise that there are no “quick fixes”.
Indeed, although reducing crime is an obvious government responsibility, it will ultimately only be decisively beaten if we all become involved.
Here is what the government of the Eastern Cape is doing to reduce crime.
Improving the quality of policing;
Promoting effective social crime prevention initiatives;
Strengthening institutional arrangements to better understand and respond to crime in an integrated manner; and
Encouraging community participation in crime reduction.
It is incumbent on all of us to be role models for the kind of attitudes and behaviour that will benefit us all.
If we are united, between men and women, among government leaders, business communities and civil society leaders I think there will be nothing which we cannot overcome. There will be nothing which will stand in our way to achieve a situation where not only women can live without any fear of violence, but every citizen.
Phumulo Masualle is premier of the Eastern Cape province. Follow him on @EC_ Premier and on Facebook at Masincokole.