Why is a woman not safe in her home?

2014-10-21 06:45

Let’s play a game. I say something and you say the first thing that comes to mind.

“Why is a woman still not safe when she’s in her home?”

Yes! You might have thought of Tracy Chapman. That’s her lyric and it’s been playing on repeat in my head this week as I reflected on the fun we have had at the “trial of the century”.

I’m talking about the Oscar Pistol-rius trial.

That was the first game?–?silly contortions of his name and jokes about him not having a leg to stand on. Remember?

From the onset I, like many people, have played into this circus.

I felt justified. Was he not using silly antics to manipulate us, the society he should have been accountable to? Wailing by day and fight-clubbing by night?

Since it kicked off, the trial has been akin to a sporting festival showcasing our different stereotypes. We all looked on from the stands cheering and booing.

First off was the big race game. Many of us darkies were angered by the insinuation that “white people aren’t safe in South Africa”, which we drew from Pistorius’ primary defence.

Of course, there are a few nutcases who believe this to be the case. But the majority of us not so secretly believe that South Africa is still a haven for whites.

That was the second big sport?–?the question of whether whites and blacks were arrested, tried and sentenced in the same way. Are we all equal before the law?

Then there was the gun episode. We were all suddenly teleported to Kansas, arguing about reasons to carry arms.

Then, speaking of the Wizard of Oz, we found our prison system put on trial.

Sure, we all hate prison, but many of us would like Pistorius to go there.

Perhaps it’s a question of fairness, of believing that our system still somehow works. Maybe that’s why I want Pistorius to go to jail.

I don’t really know. I do know what it was not about.

Not until day 46 (Wednesday) of the carnival when Kim Martin, the cousin of Pistorius’ victim, Reeva Steenkamp, gave her a voice did it dawn on me that the game that should have been centre stage was just a sideshow.

The game is: “Why is a woman still not safe when she’s in her home?”

It’s a game the whole family can play?–?and usually does.

Did you know that the word ‘famicide’, meaning to kill one’s family before committing suicide, was given to the dictionary by South Africa?

We all know the dastardly statistics.

Female abuse, domestic violence and interpersonal murder are rife in South Africa. And yet the imagined violence of black thugs on a good white citizen got more airtime.

When the pundits were playing the game of “let’s see how much jail time he gets”, it should have occurred to us that something was amiss.

How can there be ambiguity about the punishment for killing a woman in the one place she should feel safe?

The truth is that if crimes against our women are such an outrage, there should be no ambiguous answer.

The offender should know that rape gets a 20-year jail sentence, the murder of a child or woman gets 25 years and a few slaps around the house get ... let’s be inventive ... mandatory counselling and community service.

The point is, once I cross the line in my own home, there should be no place for me to hide, no house arrest. I should get the maximum sentence.

Game over.

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