By: Natasha Archary
Every year, we see these massive media campaigns “celebrating” Women’s Month. This year, the month started with a countrywide protest dubbed the #TotalShutdown because women want to know “What is there to celebrate?”
Abuse of women
A sentiment we echo strongly. Are we celebrating the fact that over 360 women are abused daily? That’s one every four minutes. (And that’s only the cases that are reported.) Or perhaps that more women became victims to sexual abuse between 2016/2017, with an increase of 53%. Maybe we’re celebrating because neglecting maternal duties, talking back to your male partner or burning dinner is enough of a reason to beat around a woman according to some South Africans.
So, no we’re not celebrating. Not until the day that women can walk around the streets of our country and not be harassed or, worse ,raped. Only when the message for change is targetted at men instead of women, will we find something worth celebrating.
“Don’t wear that, it’s inappropriate. That’s why men treat you the way they do.”
“Don’t stay out till late.”
“Don’t give a man a reason to hit you.”
We have for years been forced to accept this unfair societal norm. Programmed to believe that we are at fault for the things men put us through. Conforming to these roles of indoctrination that have been forced down our throats. Enough!
One in five women are beaten by a partner. Living in fear, most choose not to speak out about it. We know what happens to the women who try to.
Women are not to blame for a man’s inability to control his temper. We do not owe it to men to be subservient and voiceless in relationships. We will not be at your disposal whenever it suits you. When we say NO, we actually mean for you to get your filthy hands off our bodies and, no, it does not mean we’re playing hard to get.
What is there to celebrate?
We will celebrate when there are stricter laws in place against women and child abuse. When we have legislation that works in favour of the victim not the perpetrator. We will happily wave the “celebrate Women’s Month flag” when women are not physically abused in public. When men take an active stand to change their abusive ways!
Stop holding women accountable for the terrible things men do to them. It’s not our fault if a man is incapable of controlling their anger, jealousy, rage and agression. Women are not to blame for the senseless abuse we’re subjected to.
Don’t give us a public holiday that means nothing anymore or declare a month worth of celebrations to appease us. Change the narrative and stigma attached to reporting a rape at a police station. Put in place measures that ensure we feel safe in public. Take us seriously when we tell you as our male colleagues that your behaviour or “jokes” are sexual and we don’t find them funny.
Respect us and stop treating us as these curvy objects that satisfy your sexual appetite and maybe then we’ll find something worth celebrating.