Chris Moerdyk

We need to bully pregnant women

2012-06-04 07:56

Chris Moerdyk 

I am pleased to say that unlike far too many South African men, I have never assaulted or raped a woman.

I have also been particularly kind and caring toward pregnant women.

But, I have to say that in the past few days I have started to change my mind about being kind and caring to absolutely every pregnant woman I come across.

In fact, I am going to unashamedly bully women who drink excessively when they are pregnant.

What opened my eyes to the problem of alcohol and pregnancy was that I sat on a panel of judges for the Responsible Drinking Media Awards which is the brainchild of Brandhouse, that same company responsible for those ad campaigns featuring the scary people drunk drivers will meet when they end up in jail.

Hunt down pregnant women

The overall winner this year was Kim Cloete and her M-Net Carte Blanche team for a documentary on foetal alcohol syndrome.

The judges were unanimous in their choice of winner and equally unanimous in their horror of the consequences of FAS.

My immediate reaction was to go out and hunt down pregnant women with glasses of booze in their hands. And then to bully them into submission.

Now, while companies such as Brandhouse and SAB do a lot to educate consumers on responsible drinking and with government weighing with legislation to try and cut down on alcohol abuse, I believe that every man, woman and child in this country can make an even bigger contribution than government and the business sector.

Quite simply by making things socially unacceptable. By not laughing and applauding when some wise guy tells the story about how he managed to get off a drunken driving charge or avoid a roadblock. But rather telling him to his face that he is a complete arse and that you are not in the least impressed. And will be less impressed when he eventually kills someone’s child by driving after a night of drinking.

And to do the same thing with pregnant women who drink and smoke during pregnancy. They won't like what you do but their kids will.

The problem that exists in South Africa with substance abuse is that, particularly when it comes to alcohol, there is very little social unacceptability. I am not against alcohol. I like my daily Scotch and a couple of gasses of wine every now and then. But, my father taught me all about moderation.

Bully the drunk drivers

And while we need to applaud companies such as Brandhouse for all their efforts, I believe that if each and every South African decided to declare drinking and driving and excessive boozing by pregnant women as socially unacceptable things would start to change.

Try it next time you are with friends - bully the drunk drivers and boozing preggies. But wait until they are sober for heaven's sake, otherwise they will have forgotten all about it in the morning.

You might well upset them and put a strain on your friendship. But that's better than them killing their own child or someone else's.

It sounds corny, I know, but this old adage is true - "friends don’t let friends drive drunk".

- Follow Chris on Twitter.

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Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.


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