Gender based violence has dominated headlines as much as the news of the increase in the number of coronavirus cases. In the past few weeks scores of South African woman and children have lost their lives at the hand of perpetrators.
These stories have not just shocked our country but the world as well. At the same time, it is not something new. South African woman live in fear and are never sure whether an innocent night out might turn into a statistic or whether a simple trip to the post office could be the last trip they make.
We also know of the number of women who live with their potential perpetrators based on the history of abuse and violence in the relationship. The question however is why are we accepting it?
Why are we turning a blind eye to it?
How often is it that a friend, cousin or neighbour comes to you and pours out their heart about the abuse they endure?
There is always a trusted person that a someone being abused turns to when it comes to dealing with this situation.
But what do we do?
We give the advice of staying in the relationship. We say they are men this is how they are. Perhaps it is actually your fault for generations of woman enduring abuse becomes in some cultures it is normalised. But why is this alright? Why do we still tell woman to have patience this will work out?
This is not acceptable.
You need to be realistic. If you know of someone that is in a potentially abusive relationship insist they seek help.
Take it upon yourself to give them a key word so if things get out of hand, they know they can get you to assist them.
We can’t be silent and watch as more and more woman become victims of the heinous acts that lead to their murder.
It is time to call out those uncles in the family that pass snarky remarks at woman or say things about womans bodies. If you find there is one family member far to fond of taking a girl child to the shop or to do an activity you need to investigate. Why is there this particular appeal to this child?
We sadly live in a world were even the most trusted person could be a potential perpetrator. Start with educating your girl and boy children about sexual abuse and what it in entails and how they must not keep secrets of other adults.
At the same time there have also been calls for parents to educate boys on how to not rape. This is essential. Boy children must be thought the necessary trigger points to prevent them from becoming perpetrators. It is about respect and consent. It is also about understanding that men have a responsibility in society to make it safe for woman. Teach your sons ways in which do this. Whether it be driving a friend home after an evening of partying to ensure she is safe to accompanying her to the shop or library these little steps helps make society feel safer again.
It starts at home. When you daughter has bruising do not ignore it. Do not assume you should not get involved. Stop thinking about what people would say but rather think about them coming to you in a body bag because you were to late to assist.
Devan Moonsamy is the CEO of ICHAF Training Institute and the Author of Racism, Classism, Sexism and the other ISM’s that Divide us. ICHAF offers SETA-approved training in business skills, computer use, and soft skills. Devan specialises in conflict and diversity management, and regularly conducts seminars on these issues for corporates. To book a seminar with Devan or for other training courses, please use the contact details below.