These past few weeks have been the scariest since that time I discovered I was going to be a young parent many years ago; particularly for us women. Women abuse would be an understatement in describing what’s been going on recently in South Africa; I’ve actually discovered a more suitable term for these evil acts – femicide (the killing of a woman or girl, in particular by a man and on account of her gender).
I personally blame our upbringing and here’s why:
- Having a man has always been encouraged and glamorized as a major achievement among ALL races. If a woman doesn’t get hitched, it’s deemed as a failure in life. This leads to many women going into relationships or even marriages cognisant of the kind of monsters they’re partnering with just so they can be accepted and “respected” by family, society (and most importantly for some – the church) – all this for that “Mrs” title and a nami ngshadile ring on their fingers. And don’t get it twisted, this is not just a “black thing”. Don’t get me wrong, as a married woman I must say it’s nice to have someone to share this life thing with; someone who gives a damn and shares your vision. Believe it or not, there’s a woman out there who woke up with a blue eye and still going for dress fittings and meeting with the bridesmaids this weekend. Thixo!
- I blame our elders for all this. I mean think about it – who sits you down and tells you on the morning of your wedding day how a man can cheat and how you should still take him back? Do the words “Monna ke selepe…” (loosely translated: “a man can be passed around..,”) ring the bell? Yup. So basically, he can treat you like shit; bring you all sorts of diseases; have kids outside of marriage and humiliate you all he wants because…monna ke selepe right? Guess who wakes up on their wedding day, puts on their suit and heads straight for the altar? Not a single elderly male figure sitting him down giving a how-to-head-a-happy-home or how-to-keep-her-happy one-on-one…nada!
- Here’s another question – how many women run home to their parents after the first or second act of abuse, only to be “talked into”(read forced) going back to “fix things” (read beg and grovel at the feet of the abuser“. I mean no “loving and caring” mother wants to have a return soldier of a daughter right? Nooo darli! It’s going to reflect their “bad parenting”!! Ha! what will people say?! And that’s the funniest part of all this – it’s usually the mothers who champion these. They even hold “family intervention meetings” to usher you back to the lion’s den. Who do you then run to when your own folks throw you back into this den? Whether you’re financially independent or not, this is a reality women face all the time. This is where we differ from other cultures. While they ensure their daughter’s safety, black parents would rather see you in a coffin all in the name of “our daughter can keep a man”
- Words like “This is why he cheats or hits you! You have a big mouth?” or “O tsamaya bosigo (You’re always out at night)”. They forget that the sons are listening to all these and subconsciously grow a sense of entitlement towards women, that it’s ok to do as they damn well please; women will just deal – because they’re only men right? This is another thing, no one pays attention to the boy child. Women are enrolled in the school of life from a very early age while our boys are just drifting about life figuring things out themselves. And then we later blame the “oh no, women mature faster that men” phenomena. Utter bullshit! Engage the boy child with the same passion you do the girl child.
- Our men are socialized to believe women “will always be desperate to have one of us, and therefore we own them; we can do however we please and get away with it. They are brainless objects; whatever we say go; they’ll always forgive and take us back after we screw up…we’ve seen our moms do it mos dans.”
- Our men are taught to act like men; “Stop being a sissy! Wipe those tears quick! Man up!”. And guess who’s going to be the receiving dustbin for all that suppressed frustration later in life…not mama…not daddy…not all those loudmouth aunt and uncles. Yes, it’s you, my darling beautiful queen. And then the cycle continues; you have son’s and raise them into “real men who don’t cry, who don’t express their frustrations”, then years later you’re dealing with a “whining” makoti constantly complaining about your son and so on and so on.
- So here’s my request – let’s be better parents to our children. How about we start raising a different breed of men AND women;
– Allow them to express their hurt.
– Teach the boys to vocalize their feelings. Men hurt too and that doesn’t make them sissies.
– Teach them to treat other people with respect.
– Teach them they are enough.
– Overdose them with love so that someone’s daughter one day won’t have to start from scratch and do YOUR JOB and then get greeted with punches in the face or a bullet if they fail to do it right, or get gatvol with your unlovable son who’s thirsty for mommy/daddy’s love.
And the church said….