Estimated reading time: 10 minute(s)
A group of women, men and children as young as 17 in Mmakau near Ga-Rankuwa organised a convoy going around Mmakau, Mothotlung and Ga-Rankuwa against the scourge of gender based violence (GBV) that has been making headlines both in South Africa and the world at large recently.
The convoy consisting mainly of women wearing in all black mourning those who lost their lives to the GBV said the matter have been going on for far too long that they don’t know who is next among them.
Speaking to the event organiser Keleabetswe Sekgothe from Mmakau, she said she was touched and encouraged to stand up and raise awareness after losing her friend who was killed by her husband in 2019.
“I have never experienced any kind of GBV but I feel like as a woman, I should also be concerned, stand up and say enough is enough because it is not just women who are being victimised even children are falling victim to this dilemma.”
“There shouldn’t be any kind of violence allowed and yes we know that it is not just women who are falling victim to this problem, there are men who are also abused by their partners” she said.
The scourge of GBV in the country has been on the rise more especially during this lockdown even bodies of pregnant women have been found different in different locations with multiple wounds one of which was of an 8 months pregnant woman in Soweto.
The South African Medical Research Council conducted two national femicide studies, one of which found that three women were killed by an intimate partner on a daily basis. The Council also reported, at that time, that 10% of women were killed by non-partners for example Uyinene Mrwetyana who was killed by a stranger and that 20% of women were killed by an unidentified perpetrator for example, 14-year-old Janika Mallo whose body was found in her grandmothers’ backyard.
Speaking also at the march in Mmakau to Thabang from Ga-Rankuwa said he also fails to understand what went wrong but he suspects that nature of men bottling up their issues, not being verbal leads up to frustration that makes end up resorting to violence but that shouldn’t be used as an excuse to commit crime.
“Men need to learn to talk and not bottle up their anger. We need to love and protect women because we need them in our society as much as they need us” he added.
Also in the march speaking to one woman who didn’t want to be named, she said she grew up seeing her mother being abused on daily basis by her father.
She said the abuse even affected her performance in school because she couldn’t cope in class not knowing if her mother is safe or not.
“I ended up developing lot of anger towards men which I’m learning how to manage to this date and this thing happened more than 5 years ago, I am vigilante as I am speaking with you now as a man, wearing shorts which are regarded as too revealing to men and I don’t know whether you are listening to what I am saying now or you are imagining things about me.”
“I was engaged to be married but was forced to call off the wedding because I couldn’t stand being told what to do with my body, who to talk to, when to leave home and when not to leave.”
She added that she doesn’t know how to feel about men because statistics and reality shows that the problem is not what or how we wear clothes because even grannies as old as 80 years old get raped and murdered, same as children young as 3 years old.
The 29 years old organiser Keleabetswe Sekhothe said that she thinks there is still a lot that the government can do to solve this issue and death penalty could be a first step.