Amy’s lock­do­wn ant­hem a­gainst a­bu­se

Knys­na wo­man le­arns in­stru­ment du­ring lock­do­wn to com­po­se song a­gainst do­mes­tic vi­o­len­ce

Knysna-Plett Herald - - Voorblad - Bla­ke Lin­der

At a ti­me w­hen ma­ny South A­fri­cans are fin­ding them­sel­ves voi­ce­less whi­le gen­der­ba­sed vi­o­len­ce is sur­ging, a Knys­na wo­man has "found her voi­ce" through mu­sic, by wri­ting and com­po­sing a song for wo­men suf­fe­ring from a­bu­se du­ring lock­do­wn.

W­he­re­as the lock­do­wn ca­me as a wel­co­me me­a­su­re a­gainst the spre­ad of Co­vid-19 for most pe­op­le, in a coun­try w­he­re gen­der­ba­sed vi­o­len­ce (GBV) is ri­fe it bo­de ill for the thou­sands of vul­ne­ra­ble wo­men trap­ped in a­bu­si­ve re­la­ti­ons­hips at ho­me.

Within the first week of lock­do­wn mo­re than 2 000 calls we­re ma­de to the GBV hot­li­ne, to the point that pre­si­dent Cy­ril Ra­map­ho­sa tou­ched on the is­sue in his na­ti­o­nal ad­dress on te­le­vi­si­on on 14 May: "T­he­re ha­ve been very dis­tur­bing re­ports of in­cre­a­sed le­vels of gen­der-ba­sed vi­o­len­ce sin­ce the lock­do­wn star­ted. The scour­ge of gen­der-ba­sed vi­o­len­ce con­ti­nues to stalk our coun­try as the men of our coun­try de­cla­red war on the wo­men," the pre­si­dent no­ted.

The­se wo­men's plig­ht promp­ted Knys­na re­si­dent Amy Bur­ger, who is her­self a sur­vi­vor of GBV, to wri­te and com­po­se her own song with the help of a u­ku­le­le. "I wa­sn't going to post my son­gs be­cau­se I've al­ways been af­raid of the feed­back or judg­ment, but with all the wo­men a­bu­se out t­he­re and ha­ving been sub­jected to that be­fo­re, I felt the need to share this one," Bur­ger said in a Fa­ce­book post in which she shared the song.

Bur­ger, who has never play­ed the u­ku­le­le be­fo­re, bor­ro­wed the in­stru­ment from a friend w­hen lock­do­wn be­gan, and as soon as she star­ted le­ar­ning and strum­ming chords, e­ver­y­thing just flo­wed, she says. "W­hen I stop­ped trying to le­arn son­gs on YouTu­be, I just star­ted strum­ming rand­om­ly and next thing I was rhy­ming," she said in an in­ter­view with Knys­na-P­lett He­rald.

"Sud­den­ly dee­ply bu­ried e­mo­ti­ons from my past we­re on my lips and I star­ted crying. C­le­ar­ly it wa­sn't f­or­got­ten, and then it ma­de me think a­bout how ma­ny wo­men are stuck in lock­do­wn, being a­bu­sed, we­ak and hel­pless."

From that point on­wards e­ver­y­thing just star­ted to "click" for her in the song-ma­king pro­cess. "I wro­te this song in one mor­ning – the sa­me day I pos­ted it, ac­tu­al­ly. T­he­re was so much e­mo­ti­on pou­ring in­to it, that it just flo­wed and I couldn't stop. I re­cor­ded it the first ti­me I sang it, I didn't e­ven do a se­cond re­cor­ding," she said. "That first one was so raw, and re­al, and hit ho­me. So I pos­ted it. I lo­ved how li­be­ra­ted I felt and I wan­ted ot­her wo­men out t­he­re to feel the sa­me."

Bur­ger's fa­vou­ri­te li­ne from the song, "I've been set free", is one that in­spi­res li­be­ra­ti­on for victims of GBV, she be­lie­ves. "T­he­re is no gre­a­ter fee­ling kno­wing that you built up e­nough coura­ge to walk a­way and had the strength to see a brig­h­ter to­mor­row no mat­ter how dark today may ha­ve see­med." She al­so points out that she did not post the song for her per­so­nal gain. "I pos­ted this song not for re­cog­ni­ti­on, but if one wo­man who he­ars it – who is hur­ting, sca­red and feels al­o­ne – can feel e­ven the s­lig­h­test bit ho­pe­ful and en­coura­ged, then my work is do­ne."

Are you a victim of/wit­ness to GBV?

T­he­re are a num­ber of me­a­su­res in pla­ce to as­sist victims of GBV. You can call the GBV Com­mand Cen­t­re on 0800 428 428, SMS "help" to 31531, or send a "ple­a­se call me" to *120*7867#. You can al­so re­port child a­bu­se to the C­hild­li­ne South A­fri­ca on 0800 055 555, or the Do­mes­tic Vi­o­len­ce Hel­pli­ne on 0800 150 150. T­he­re is al­so a Sky­pe ser­vi­ce for the de­af com­mu­ni­ty.

Amy Bur­ger has tur­ned to the u­ku­le­le to help find her voi­ce a­gainst gen­der-ba­sed vi­o­len­ce.

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