Written by: Xolelwa Pona
This year marks the 66th anniversary of the great women’s march of 1956, where women marched to the Union Buildings to protest against carrying passbooks.
Today, women are still protesting.
Protesting from all corners of South Africa, still to the Union Buildings, to courts, to parliament to raise their collective voices against the scourge of Gender Based Violence and Femicide.
The country has come so far when it comes to women’s rights and liberation. However, we are still battling what the President of South Africa called, a second pandemic, GBVF.
There are so many measures put in place to fight the scourge but violence against women and children keeps soaring.
According to the South African Police Services, “The first three months of this year (2022), 10 818 people were raped in South Africa.
Almost half of the cases, a staggering 4 653 rapes took place at the home of the rape victim or the home of the rapist.”
While we are also still known for having one of the highest rates of femicide in the world.
August is a bittersweet month for women. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when our work is recognised and celebrated, I love it when women get their flowers while they can still smell them. However, that is not the reality for most women. We get the most gorgeous flowers in the form of funeral wreaths, it means we are silenced forever.
A woman is murdered every 4 hours in South Africa.
I am particularly not impressed by the hoo-ha noise done by big corporates and everyone else this month. I am anxious and fearful because it’s been years now of noticing a trend where GBVF cases increase in the months when there is a big noise about respecting and celebrating women when there is a big noise condemning violence against women. You would swear there is a retaliation of some sort.
We need more than just the noise.
Look at how society views women. If men respected women and saw them as their equals, we would not be talking about the gang rape that happened at Krugersdorp right at the beginning of Women’s month. You mean not even a single man thought, “no, wait guys, what we are planning/doing is wrong”. I will not even entertain the few posts I have seen justifying the rapes in the name of poverty and unemployment. We can’t be used as an outlet for people’s frustrations. Sorry.
Society objectifies women. Women are not seen as humans who deserve to be respected and treated with dignity.
We deserve respect, at home, in the workplace, and at school… EVERYWHERE!!!
The respect includes getting equal pay, eradication of GBVF, justice for victims, equal economic opportunities, quality education, and access to sexual and reproductive services.