Today, women’s day in South Africa, is the day we commemorate the woman that took on injustice in 1956. Over 6 decades later, you would think we would have made significant progress in changing mindsets about the role and place of a woman.
If you believe this, as I had naively done for quite some time, then you’re drowning in denial. This week, was a shocking and heartbreaking reminder to me that our fight, as women, both in SA and around the world, is far from over.
If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, I’m about to fill you in.
TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains information about gender-based violence, sexual violence and suicide which could be triggering. If you are concerned about this, rather give this post a skip. Make sure to seek professional help if you are dealing with any of these situations.
As most of you probably know, on Friday 3 August, 2018, Khensani Maseko commited suicide. This young and beautiful soul was a student at Rhodes University and was raped only 3 months ago. She was born into a world and a society that didn’t deserve her. Her last few posts on Instagram left a clear indication as to what lead to her death with the very last post being her date of birth and date of death, captioned “no one deserves to be raped”.
My girl, even though I did not know you, your death and rape has left me heartbroken this entire week (and still does). I am not the only one. The country is mourning the loss of a beautiful life, a death that could possibly have been prevented. But we, the human species and our current sick society, failed you. Rest in peace, love.
The same weekend an alleged rape was reported by a Nelson Mandela University student which lead to the the shutdown of the university this week. The student has since decided to withdraw the case and as is typical of rape culture, many resorted to questioning whether it was all just a made up lie…But as many of us know, the legal system is not exactly kind to rape victims.
With suggestions of teaching female students self-defense, we cannot help but wonder when the real issue will be addressed? Surely the issue here is not the lack of self-defense training but the fact that rape is even an option?! When do we stop trying to fix potential victims and instead focus on fixing potential rapists???
The nail in the coffin had to be when a well-known student leader of the university made the following statement which he has since apologised for “because what is going to lead us to rape is to be sexually frustrated”. APOLOGY NOT ACCEPTED. The statement was followed by the laughter of the men (which still sends a shiver up my spine) gathered at this meeting which was supposed to address ways in which male students could assist the female students in this fight against gender-based violence.
After seeing this, I realised the issue was much larger than we could ever have imagined. Rape culture has been ingrained into our generation, and it is destroying us.
So please, let’s not forget what today is really about. #timeisup and with so many of us saying #metoo it is clear the fight is far from over.
Don’t keep quiet the next time you hear or see rape culture in action, whether its a boy groping a girl or “She was asking for it” kind of talk, we can no longer afford to laugh it off and pretend it did not happen. We simply can not.
What are your views on these topics? Let me know.
With love and light (and a fighting spirit for a healed society)