16 days of gim­micks to sur­vivors

The Citizen (KZN) - - Letters - Kekeletso Nakeli-Dh­li­wayo

Ifind it laugh­able and ap­palling that the theme for this year’s 16 days of ac­tivism is “Enough is Enough – 356 days to gen­der-based Vi­o­lence and Femi­cide”. This comes from the govern­ment that moves at a snail’s pace in ad­dress­ing the plight of sur­vivors of rape, abuse and vi­o­lence.

We live in a so­ci­ety in which there are not enough el­e­ments to de­ter peo­ple from com­mit­ting crime be­cause we have be­come a so­ci­ety that only re­acts but for a mo­ment. We are also a so­ci­ety that shows dis­dain for a mo­ment as the pun­ish­able method for per­pe­tra­tors.

To dress up a cou­ple of days as mo­ments of ac­tivism, to shout and de­clare out­rage and anger, only to carry on with our nor­mal lives af­ter­wards is laugh­able.

Our govern­ment is ev­ery bit in­con­sis­tent, es­pe­cially on mat­ters that they feel they are com­pelled to act upon. There is no ea­ger­ness to find a so­lu­tion, no mea­sures put in place to find refuge for flee­ing women and chil­dren, no safety net to guide and pro­tect them as they em­bark on the treach­er­ous road of the court sys­tem to at­tain jus­tice.

With our ap­a­thetic so­cial and po­lice de­part­ments, I can un­der­stand why many women opt to re­main silent. Fu­neral par­lours are busier at this time be­cause more women are be­ing buried than those be­ing res­cued.

How did our govern­ment quan­tify that “enough is enough”? Did they count the body bags, did they tally the costs and losses as tourists were too scep­ti­cal to touch our shores in fear of their lives?

Were the costs counted as so­cial me­dia trended that the govern­ment was quick to act in ac­cor­dance to the ex­pec­ta­tions of its con­stituen­cies? How do they de­clare that “enough is enough”, did they not take too long to reach this des­ti­na­tion that the rest of us had ar­rived at many years ago?

I can­not gather enough courage to take part in the 16 days of ac­tivism. This is be­cause I be­lieve this is not a pro­gramme that should have a start and an end date – this is a con­tin­u­ous con­ver­sa­tion that should be ever ring­ing in our ears.

I find it ap­palling that in a so­ci­ety rid­dled with vi­o­lence that we are asked to de­clare “enough is enough” for 16 days. This ex­er­cise has been re­duced to a gim­mick.

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