Another August

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Another August, another month dedicated solely to our women, however, if we have to be honest, the only difference to last August and the August before that is the increasing number of femicides.

I have experienced and survived Gender-Based Violence (GBV) at the hands of someone I was in a relationship with and I have been a friend to another woman who repeatedly experienced brutal attacks at the hands of her “partner” until she was unable to survive the gunshot to her shoulder and her head. I don’t need to tell you then that I take GBV very personally – thinking about that day still brings a deep sadness to my heart.

Thinking about the days before that, when I used to say: “Thea, jy moet loop. Hy gan jou doodmaak.” It seemed harsh but I could tell by every worsening incident that that was his intention.

I hated how bystanders stood and said “En hy was soe ‘n goeie man!” How? How were we referring to a man who had shot his son and daughter in their sleep, shot their mother and then in all cowardice shot himself as “‘n goeie man?”

We keep reading about the young woman who suffers mercilessly and usually dies an undignified death at the hands of their attackers, who more often than not, at some point, claimed to love them. Yet we seldom see justice for these women.

The Constitution of our country says:

“Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit to the law.”

“Everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected.”

“Everyone has the right to life.”

Do these rights not apply to the women of South Africa? Are men more equal before the law than women? Do only men have the right for their dignity to be respected?
What happened to our RIGHT TO LIFE?

Unfortunately, we do not have control of the law and how it is implemented but as a nation, as individuals, as boys and girls, moms and dads, we can all do something to make our voices heard against the painful reality that is GBV.

The 1st August 2020, the beginning of National Women’s month, saw many men and women, individually or as movements come out and speak up against GBV. I enjoyed seeing videos and posts that saw people encouraging one another to not only treat our women right in August but to do so all year round.

An Instagram user, @seapeimotlatsi, made her voice heard through spitting bars in her mother tongue just giving praise to women.
I also came across a video by a group of ladies and gents who go by the name “The Gwijo squad“, and upon reading more about them; they seem to have become a popular attraction at Rugby games all around the country.

This squad, who sing traditional Xhosa AmaGwijo songs in the stands supporting the players with these songs of encouragement, have added their voices to our plight against GBV. As they intend to unify people in the stands of our rugby stadiums, I see their video as an attempt to unite us beyond the stands; a call for unity among men and women against GBV.

I (along with thousands of woman around South Africa and 6.5million insta users around the world) recently participated in a black and white photo challenge #challengeaccepted that, also after further probing, turned out to be a Turkish initiative that stemmed from activists doing their bit to come up against the femicide pandemic in their country.

It was amazing to see how quickly we all caught on to it. I know a challenge will not change the state of our country at the moment but I do think that a similar challenge would evoke unity among all citizens and bring encouragement and hope to those women who feel alone in their dark corner, filled with continuous vicious violence; those women who feel stuck, who feel muzzled in their struggle.

It will help them know that their suffering does not only have to end when they are hanging from a tree, or when they have been axed to death, or shot in the head. Their story can end in hope. Our resounding and unified voices can send a message to them that they are not alone. That even if the judicial system is not standing with them, the rest of the country is.

Let’s start our own challenge and what better way to do it as South Africans than in song; in poetry, with memes even! Add your Voices South Africa.

The Gwijo Squad’s video I am referring to is captioned “It is important that we continue to fan the scourge that is gender-based violence. Let’s add our voices and weight to the Gwijo Squad’s call.” The video is of some of its members singing a song in Xhosa; loosely translated to: The burden our women carry is so heavy, we have never seen something like this. We are beating, oppressing and killing our women yet they still love us

We know what we are capable of as a united nation. Let’s heed the call and get behind them and the women of our country.

#addourvoices
#weallstandtogetherGBV
#makeyourvoiceheard

Only we can make a difference in our circumstances. We can make the perpetrators feel out of place in a society that will no longer tolerate Gender-Based Violence. We can make them feel small in their public displays of aggression that they so shamelessly display because they know that it will be tolerated.

Let us not tolerate it any longer. No matter how big or small; Gender-Based Violence is unacceptable.

*These are the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Vannie Kaap News.

5 COMMENTS

  1. If only more Men could raise their voices against GBV… We’re the guilty gender, we should put an end to it.

  2. God created women by taking one rib from us as men and we all know that our arms are besides our ribs in such a way that they actually protect the ribs and so as men we need to use those very same hands to protect all women instead of raising our hands to hurt them as the ribs are precious so are our beautiful women. Women will die protecting their loved ones, yet we cowardly men who think we are mucho by abusing our women think that we own them some of us hide behind culture some of us blame situations for our cruel actions. Today I say let all men use their hands to protect these women for we all know that we are nothing without them, thank you Aithne for your inspiring words

  3. What happened to the saying”you touch a woman, you touch a nation…” we all need to make a conceited effort to raise the “arlarms”
    Thank you my twin, Prec’

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