Each of us has a duty to act against GBV and femicide
IN JUNE this year, a woman at the funeral of 28-year-old Tshegofatso Pule apologised to men in South Africa.
The woman, one of Pule’s family members, went down on her knees and pleaded with every man in the country to spare the life of every woman and girl. She asked brothers, uncles, grandfathers, husbands, boyfriends, nephews and priests to stand up and protect the lives of all women, saying: “If we have wronged you as women, we are sorry.”
At the time one wondered how did we, as a community, society and as a nation, get to the point where women find themselves apologising for things they have not done?
Six months later the same question still lingers as we continue to be inundated with horrific stories of women being killed by their spouses, a primary school girl being forced to have an abortion after her mother’s tenant raped her repeatedly for eight months only to threaten the family, or having a woman shamed on social media by her boyfriend who insisted she tell everyone she is a s**t.
As uncomfortable as the previous phrase is, it is how all South Africans, from all walks of life, should feel.
Every single person should be uncomfortable with, and have an unwavering intolerance towards, femicide or gender-based violence.
And yet again, this condemnation should not only be evident over this time of the year when we observe the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children.
Last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the Cabinet had decided that from November 25 to November 29 the nation would embark on five days’ morning of victims of Covid-19, GBV and femicide.
While some in the country heeded this call, little noise was made about it. No one was prepared to wear black and mourn a fellow next-door neighbour whose screaming could be heard while her husband beat her to a pulp.
They were not ready to shout enough after business partners Makoena Mabusela-Leshabane and Tebogo Mphuti were shot and killed execution-style recently, with one of the perpetrators said to be Mabusela-Leshabane’s husband.
Let us continue condemning gender-based violence every day of our lives and not just special days.
By acting every day, we might just save an innocent life.