Opportunity missed to improve women’s plight
SA should do better to end gender-based violence
We know by now that Women’s Month celebrations are just another way in which companies, institutions and the government blow hot air instead of committing to decisive actions to address gender inequality and gender-based violence.
However, this Women’s Month is particularly shocking – even by South African standards, which pays black women significantly less money compared to women of other races. But this is not what keeps one up at night wondering if I will survive another day as a black woman in South Africa.
The daily threat of violence against us increases, turning us into moving targets for rapes, assaults and death at the hands of husband and boyfriends.
Instead of Women’s Month turning into a month of reflection and action by the powers that be, it was used to mock us once again.
It’s almost as if institutions and politicians are tired of pretending to care.
Take #TheTotalShutDown march against gender-based violence by thousands of women in eight provinces on the first day of August. While President Cyril Ramaphosa received the memorandum at the Union Buildings, organisers were charged with intimidating the president.
The charges were dropped but the law made its point – we must confront power at our own peril.
It’s incredibly disturbing that the law is used to intimidate and silence women instead of turning its might to men who have turned one in three women to become potential rape victims. The law should focus on those who kill women.
The problem, apparently, is not that femicide is one of the leading causes of death among SAwomen or that our schools and institutions of higher learning have become plagued by rape and violence towards women and girls.
We are the problem for saying enough is enough.
Is it any wonder the likes of Mduduzi Manana can beat up women and continue with his life undisturbed by his actions to be rewarded with an invitation to address victims of violence? That our film industry remains silent about rape allegations against Khalo Matabane, and that Arthur Mafokate keeps getting booked after attacking Cici?
And what about playing the song by convicted rapist, Brickz, at local football matches after he was found guilty of raping his 16-yearold relative.
South Africa needs to do better, and it should start with the law and the president. After all, his Thuma Mina slogan is borrowed from a song with lyrics that say: “I wanna be there for the victims of violence and abuse/ I wanna lend a hand/ Send me.”
We are tired of our bodies being turned into crime scenes.
The writer says South Africa’s economy is not immune to US President Donald Trump’s misguided protectionist tariffs on steel and aluminium that he has unilaterally imposed.