Femicide Must Fall
It is August! (Women’s month). A month where we celebrate and pay tribute to the brave and pioneering women of the Apartheid era, the women who paved the way for us socially, politically, economically, and fought for our freedom. Furthermore, we celebrate the women in our lives, the ones paving the path now for future generations and advancing the female agenda…our mothers, sisters, grandmothers, friends etc.
But as I write this, the critical thinker in me asks are women really free?, have things really changed?, or is it a case of everything looks different, but nothing has changed. My critical response to this would be that things have changed, there have been advancements of the female agenda…BUT when you assess the empirical evidence one would question if any battles have been won and enemies defeated. This is only because we are now fighting a different enemy, waging a different war, involved in different battles. The enemy has changed in shape, form, size, and intention… YES, I’m talking about femicide and Gender based violence. This is further compounded by the fact that those who are supposed to serve and protect are more often than not, part of the problem…YES… police incompetence, indifference, insensitivity and brutality.
This new enemy impacts on the freedoms women in South Africa enjoy… What not to wear? What not to say? What not to think? Where not to go? Curfews on when to be back home? When you can be out and about versus when you should sit your ass down at home… somewhat indicative of the pass laws our predecessors fought to abolish. Not to mention the psychological damage caused to a generation of women who are regularly seeing their mothers and sisters beaten and butchered for expressing themselves.
And so when I ask “are we really free?” I am not asking a philosophical question; I am asking a practical one. As the enemy has changed, we are in a new era of war/struggle requiring a new age of women to lead and pave the way for future generations. Our male allies have an open invitation because the enemy of my enemy is my friend/ally, so we will fight together.
All institutions and organisations both public and private must come to the party, the government must take increased measures to protect and seek justice for the women of this nation. Reactive measures are simply not good enough, we need and demand more preventative measures to safeguard the women of South Africa, regardless of their age, race, social status, relationship status, sexual orientation, dress code, citizenship/country of birth and whereabouts.
They say “Wathinta abafazi, wathint' imbokodo”, meaning “you strike a woman, you strike a rock”, I would add to this that when “you strike one woman, you strike us all”…the fight against Gender Based Violence belongs to us all, and it’s a fight we must all be involved in if we are to win!