VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
August is traditionally women’s month in South Africa. However instead of celebrating the gains and achievements of women of this country, we have seen the exponential increase of acts of violence against women.
Unfortunately, in some instances, violation is committed by people closely related to women; such as husbands, boyfriends, dads and uncles. The violence can continue unabated because of the culture of silence within families.
Violence against women takes a wide range of acts including murder, sexual assault, sexual harassment, physical assault and emotional abuse. It is an extreme form of gender inequality as well as a violation of human rights.
Violence affects women’s general well-being negatively and prevents women from fully participating in society. In some cases, it leads to dramatic health cases. Although there are laws for domestic violence, not enough is being done to enforce the laws in order to prevent violence when it occurs. Victims suffer and the perpetrator is often left unpunished allowing him to continue brutalizing more women with impunity.
This issue has brought devastation and despair. Every woman has stories about violence and harassment. It is unfortunate how on an hourly, daily and weekly basis, there is some form of violence against women.
There have been recent calls for death penalty to be reinstated or chemical castration for convicted rapists. In a survey that was recently conducted, it was found that approximately 14 out of 100 cases go to court and the rate of conviction is very low.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of violence against women in the entire continent. Based on statistics, one in five women have been exposed to physical violence. Gender based violence is part of everyday life and decisive action must be taken in order to break this vicious cycle.
“Am I next” campaign is currently trending on social media platforms. Women are speaking out, yet they are tired of speaking when nothing is being done about it.
There are misconceptions/myths such as; men not being able to control their anger or sexual urges, alcohol which causes men to be violent, women being able to leave violent partners if they wanted to.
These are excuses that should be rejected because of years of socialization. The patriarchal system justifies the excuses above and in some instances, men use culture to justify their immoral, illegal and reprehensible conduct.
Below are a few highly publicized stories of women who perished at the hands of ruthless, psychopathic men;
Karabo Mokoena became the face of domestic violence in 2017 after her boyfriend killed her and burned her body.
Natasha Conabeer ,23-year-old, was found dead after she was allegedly kidnapped. She was found in the early hours of the morning and rushed to hospital. Her disappearance went viral on social media as people were calling for her return.
Uyinene Mrwetyana was found dead after her family, friends and the community had searched for her over several days. The primary suspect is in custody and again happens to be a man. The matter is to go to court, and I would not develop the story any further.
I had the opportunity to interview ordinary women and the responses demonstrate how unsafe women in the street feel; the following is a classic example. A lady mentioned that three men were driving slowly and stopped suddenly. When one of the men got out the car, the lady got scared thinking these men were about to kidnap her. But it turned to be innocent men who were running their own errands.
This shows that women are traumatized because of acts of violence committed by men against women.
A high school girl was raped by her father and informed her teacher about the experience. The teacher informs those in positions of authority but before action could be taken the girl informed the teacher that she would not be pursuing the matter any further. It appears that she was placed under tremendous pressure by the father and it is also probable that he threatened her.
This indicates that men violate women and still manage to manipulate them not to act.
Various institutions across South Africa namely UCT, WITS and UJ took the initiative to get involved in the violence against women campaign as students were affected by this issue. Studio 05 Institute of Fashion also took part and believes through social media platforms, information can be shared for the issue to be addressed and dealt with accordingly.
A solution is needed for this global problem. We need to take a stand, come together as a society and become a catalyst for positive change.
“The Main Goal Of The Future Is To stop Violence. The world Is Addicted To It.”
Studio 05 Communications