In South Africa, gender-based violence, especially rape, has become an epidemic. As a young woman, leaving my house for work takes a lot of courage as I don’t know whether I will arrive safely or some excuse of a man will try to rape or intimidate me. Young children are no longer safe to be left in the care of their family relatives because violence against children and women has drastically increased and we often read or hear about a father or an uncle or a brother that has raped a woman or a child. It is very sad having someone close to you or someone you know becoming a rape victim because no one is entitled to anyone’s body even if you are married or in a relationship.
Yesterday, President Jacob Zuma launched the annual global campaign, 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children which will end on December 10. The theme for this year is “Peace begins at home”.
Sixteen Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children aims to prevent gender-based violence by teaching all South Africans, especially the young, about their rights. Gender-based violence affects all; black and white, old and young and the harm does not have to be physical, it can also be verbal.
Fighting gender-based violence shouldn’t be made a priority only at this time of the year. Sixteen days is just not enough to highlight the negative impact violence has in our society.
To all the brothers, hitting a woman to a pulp does not make you a man, controlling her with your wealth to get her to do as you please does not make you a man. As a man you should protect and respect children and women. The way a woman dresses or the way she walks or looks does not give you any right to take what is not yours or throw insults. These are your sisters, daughters and mothers. Treat women and children the way you would like to be treated and respect them.
Woman, if he raises his hand to you, he doesn’t love you, leave before he kills you. A lot of people stay in abusive and unhealthy relationships with the hope that the abusive person will change. Stop living like a victim and report any form of abuse, the law will protect you.