One of the first things that came to mind when my girlfriend told me we’d be having a baby daughter was, “Wow, This is gonna be tough!”
I thought that not because I was 18 and solely dependent on my parents, but because we live in a world that will oppress her because she is a woman.
From scary stats to a culture of discrimination against women
I’ve read the scary rape statistics – 40% of South African women will be raped in their lifetime and more than 50% will face some form of abuse.
I have also witnessed two of my aunts being beaten by their husbands.
It’s both depressing and embarrassing because I’m male and, even though I have a mother and a sister, it took my daughter’s birth for me to question my own gender-based discrimination and show concern.
Her birth made it real for me but it did not make it right because men remain silent while women are violated around us on a daily basis.
This is why HeForShe is an important campaign
The culture of discrimination against women is most persistent right here in Africa where our focus remains on interrogating the victim (what was she wearing? was she drunk?) as opposed to confronting the perpetrators.
The continued lack of support for women right’s movements by us men on the continent implies that we support the current status quo and, worryingly, do not recognise this as an urgent issue.
But it does not have to be this way.
This is why I am challenging men, from all over the continent, to make an impact in whatever small way possible to drive us nearer to ending abuse against women and children.
This is a call to action because for us as men to continue to stand by and watch silently as women continue to be abused is to be party to this abuse.
Make a pledge and join the #HeForShe movement to show solidarity towards gender equality.