The number of cases of violence against women has more than doubled this year alone; this is undoubtedly a sign that the abuse of women has not eased. Last time I wrote about Rebooting Against Gender-Based Violence where I stressed that the dialogue about ending domestic abuse shouldn’t just centre around women, but men as well. It’s a sad situation when, every day, women experience harassment in public places – on the streets or even in public vehicles and also in their own homes.
In recent years, especially in the past months, shocking stories of extreme brutality have made headlines around the world. But I have realised that what makes it even harder is that sometimes, women are forced to keep silent in the face of abuse. There could be many reasons why a lot of women decide not to take action when someone is abusing or harassing them.
Today, many women are suffering in silence, and what they’re going through is casually being treated as a joke. Like many countries, South Africa’s gender inequalities are deeply rooted. I was watching “The Invisible Man” the other day; the movie manages to portray the cyclical nature of domestic or spousal abuse proficiently.
The movie shows that abusive partners shrewdly manipulate to get their “victims” to do their bidding. Elizabeth, the female victim, portrays a woman who tries to wriggle out of the dark pit she’s found herself in. Statistically, it’s a struggle that one in every four women around the world must overcome to go from victim to victor.
Our society has now succumbed to the norm that a little girl would grow up thinking that she’s supposed to be careful while walking down the streets – but will again feel afraid to fight back when she has to. Because we are told that the conclusion of the matter after a woman experienced any abuse is to “settle things” as if that would turn the time back and fix everything.
I believe that there must come a time when a woman must bravely declare “not this time.” he moment when we, women, prove to every man that females are strong as hellfire to think that anyone can get away with abusing or sexually harassing them.
I also wish that the law can be harsh on abusers. Let there be a reminder that there’s still a law in this country that will put anyone behind bars for abusing or molesting women or children. Anyone who dares, let them know that “we are not theirs to abuse.”
Happy World Population Day