Women don't deserve a day

2012-08-14 09:48

David Moseley

We've just come off a long weekend. There are violent protests in the Western Cape, there are people dying at Lonmin mine, others are suffering through the cold snap that's chilling the country. I'm almost certain there are other terrible things happening right now in South Africa that we don't know about, or probably don't want to know about.

There is always something terrible happening in South Africa.

I intended to distract further from reality this morning by writing a light-hearted piece on fear, as in "my biggest fear is being stuck in an elevator needing a pee". Nothing serious, just something to take the edge off.

I was trying to think of some other irrational "non-fears" to fluff out the piece when I realised I couldn't write that kind of article at all, because my biggest fear is no laughing matter...

Girl power

Last week Helen Moffett wrote a furious piece detailing, with little mincing of words, the total and utter inefficacy of Women's Day, the day where all South African men wake up early, make the missus some breakfast in bed and do their bit for equality.

I read her expletive-laced (a woman after my own heart) column and immediately thought, "calm down, crazy lady. At least Women's Day draws some attention to the plight of the needy".

Then I read it again. And again. And again. And like all the classics (barring Macbeth) it got better each time I poured over it.

Helen is angry. She's angry that women are getting raped (almost every 17 seconds in South Africa). She's angry that Rape Crisis has to close its doors due to lack of funding. She's angry that women are still treated like lesser citizens in this country, given a pat on the head and told to go watch The Bold and the Beautiful when they raise serious concerns. And she's downright fucking furious that government would rather spend millions on a picnic instead of making South Africa a safer place for its womankind.
(a resource site for rape survivors) quotes a survey that was conducted amongst 1 500 Soweto school children, in which it was discovered that a quarter of all boys said that "jackrolling" (their lingo for gang rape) was "fun".

If you Google "rape South Africa" you'll find stories in the LA Times, CNN and other major international networks detailing that moment of infamy we enjoyed earlier this year thanks to the video of a gang rape being filmed by the rapists. In fact, the LA Times notes it as a "typical South African rape" and one "that wouldn't have made headlines, had it not been for the cellphone".

Interpol (you've probably heard that name mentioned in some espionage themed movies. They're a pretty big deal) tells us that South Africa has the highest rate of rape in the world. Helen herself notes, "that the rape stats in South Africa are the worst in the world for a country not at war".

But Helen is wrong there, because we obviously are at war. At war with our women.

What do I fear?

So Helen got me thinking, which is the point of all written words. And in a roundabout way I come back to my original idea of writing about "fears" today. Because my biggest fear is not going down in a ball of flames in a creaky 1Time plane, or sliding off Sir Lowry's Pass on a rainy evening, or evening getting munched by a shark while sitting in the line-up.

No. My biggest fear is that one day I get a phone call informing me that a woman in my life has been attacked by a witless coward who thinks his penis is the epicentre of his strength and manhood.

My biggest fear, living in South Africa, is not that I might die in a home invasion, or get hijacked or murdered in the street for my lousy call-dropping cellphone.

My biggest fear is worrying, every time I leave the house, every time she leaves the house, that the woman I love (and the other woman I love, don't worry, it's my gran) become another forgettable rape statistic, ignored, shoved aside, "dealt with" and shelved away in some CIA fact file that foreigners use to ward off visitors to this beautiful, barbaric country.

I know women who've been raped. It's impossible not to. An ex, on a night out with her friends, was once attacked. Thankfully she got away. When she came home and cried and cried and cried, there was nothing I could do. I don't want to feel like that ever again. This year my fiancée, while on a business trip, was propositioned in her own hotel. She told me over the phone. I wanted to fly upcountry immediately.

The internet, social networks and so on, they are double-edged swords. They help spread word, words like Helen's. But they help spread the words too thinly.

There is always something terrible happening in South Africa.

The "epidemic" (LA Times, not my words) of rape is too often pushed into the background. That should never be the case.

Women don't deserve a day at all.

They deserve every day, every week, every month, every year. They deserve our undying attention. They deserve a country where they can live without fear.

They deserve life.

- Follow @david_moseley on Twitter.

Send your comments to David

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  • thinus.brits.1 - 2012-08-14 10:28

    Awesome, definitively one of my worst fears also!!!!

  • shazzarain - 2012-08-14 10:33

    Well said. i still believe if they cant use it properly they should loose it.

      LanfearM - 2012-08-14 11:06

      Fully agreed! Make castration the punishment for rape, then we will see!

  • lebo.radebs - 2012-08-14 10:35

    Very true David,, they deserve 2 live without fear & live in a country were they & all the other people in the country are protected. No one deserves 2 live in fear

  • tania.horne.7 - 2012-08-14 10:36

    You are an awesome caring and deeply sincere guy when it comes to the women of South Africa and if every man can think of women the way you do, there might just be a chance and change in this country of ours, where women can live without fear, stand proud and live the life she deserves. Cause when women live the life they are suppose to live, without any pain and sorrow, less homeless and parentless little children there will be. A happy and loving and loved and cared for mom/woman, will definitely have happy and loved children.

  • grant.callaway.50 - 2012-08-14 10:47

    Yeah yeah... who cares about rape when our MUSEUMS are in the state they are!!?

  • LanfearM - 2012-08-14 11:05

    Excellent article, thanks David! I wish there were more men like you in this country of ours!

      mike.bundy.73 - 2012-08-15 09:14

      There are many more like him, he is not alone

  • DayanGovender - 2012-08-14 11:17

    I so agree - and how are we supposed to let our daughters be born in this country???? I know I cannot and will not bring another child into this world knowing what I know about this country - I would rather take a child that is already here and bless them with a home and hope and love.

  • maryjean.hennis - 2012-08-14 12:02

    At the risk of sounding repetitive, you make me so very proud.......

      david.a.moseley - 2012-08-14 13:44

      You've got to stop commenting on my columns. People will start thinking you're my mother or something :)

      maryjean.hennis - 2012-08-14 13:57

      :) xxx

      leaproach.thekeeper - 2012-08-14 14:43

      Hey Hey.....ek watch julle né ;-)

  • alistair.rooney - 2012-08-14 12:16

    The only proven way to prevent rape is to arm yourself - and I don't mean pepper spray - and get decent training. Yes it's inconvenient doing those competency tests and waiting the months for the licensing, but so is getting raped.

  • glenda.nevill - 2012-08-14 12:20

    Wow. Thank you David.

  • jacques.joubert.swart - 2012-08-14 12:28

    Profound stuff... a friend of a friend got raped when she was 17, and she used to live in my neighbourhood. It's true what you say- this is something that affects us all in some way. It's tragic.

  • anele.mveku - 2012-08-14 12:32

    WELL SAID. I like a million times.

  • hugh.knight.58 - 2012-08-14 12:34

    Spellcheck danger - I am sure you didn't POUR over the column!

      david.a.moseley - 2012-08-14 13:46

      Thanks Champ. Glad you're perfect and never make mistakes. Gold star for spotting the error. I'll now retire and never write again because I'm so awful.

      mike.mellor1 - 2012-08-14 17:41

      Real men aren't afraid to admit when they've made a mistake. Wussies can't take a joke.

  • Tamandjaz - 2012-08-14 12:39

    You think you are afraid now... just wait until (if) you have a daughter... i am afraid for the women i love in my life (and even those i dont know) but for my daughter... the fear that this will happen to her is... there isnt even a word for how great my fear is.. Thanks David, excellent article - if only all the men in this world shared your feelings.

  • morne.d.preez - 2012-08-14 12:42


  • bontle.kgosi.5 - 2012-08-14 12:43

    Wow, thanks David you made my day.. Thnak you. I wish most men can have the same mentality. It's actually SAD that SOME men use rape as a weapon to render women worthless, powerless and hopeless. Your are right in that everyday of the year should be Womens' Day. Rapists should also be names and shamed and see how they like it.

  • btrixdsigns - 2012-08-14 12:59

    Thank You!

      Liesbetpraat - 2012-08-15 05:53

      Yes, thank you David....

  • cara.meintjes - 2012-08-14 13:16

    This is such an important thing for a man to say. We all need to take this stand. I'm still left feeling helpless though - so many of us agree that we have a massive and complex problem in SA, but how can we influence the situation for the better? We need to get involved in the initiatives that address it. I know that Sonke Gender Justice does awesome work among men to change attitudes around sexuality and gender-based violence. They are a good organisation to support financially, or to volunteer with. Can anyone add recommendations of other intitiatives to support?

  • cathy.joubertsouth - 2012-08-14 13:23

    Thank you David. Rape seems to have become a national sport. Something with entertainment value and something to be proud of. How in the world are we going to turn this around when our leaders behave that way too?

  • dina.baroutsos - 2012-08-14 13:55

    Thank you for your respect of women. I shiver every time I hear of a girl being raped at school. How do I protect my girls there?

      mike.bundy.73 - 2012-08-15 09:17

      Educate them, there are many websites that advise on rape prevention and rape avoidance

  • arthur.hugh - 2012-08-14 14:57

    Well written sir, couldn't agree more. I can tell you one thing though, if anyone lays a hand on any of the women in my life they had better commit suicide before I get my hands on them.

  • dave.stroud.75 - 2012-08-14 15:01

    You are spot on! Thank you for writing what many of us are feeling. This should not be a fear we should have...and neither should the women in our lives have to fear.

  • ndyeboreginaldmazawule - 2012-08-14 15:02

    Well said man ey

  • cheyne.lothering - 2012-08-14 15:13

    Give this man a bells!!! Totally agree!

  • marion.woldendorp - 2012-08-14 17:46

    Had a tear in my eyes with this one David. Excellent article!! Was also a big fear of mine with the two girls but not so much anymore now that we have left the country!!

  • lulama.mbelwa - 2012-08-15 08:11

    Thanks David, well said. Thank you

  • terry.wiegand - 2012-08-15 08:28

    David, Very different comments from the normal critics of your stories "chauvinistic pig etc...." I think you have got the recipe right this time, slightly (very very slightly ;-)) boring beginning so the pseudo intellectual critics leave your story and the fans carry on reading to appreciate your skill. Well written and unfortunately very true!

  • rhonwen.harford - 2012-08-15 09:12

    Great article! The fact that a month is "dedicated" to women, is an admission of failure by the government, in it's duty to protect women!

  • elaine.pretorius - 2012-08-15 14:12

    Thank you David Moseley! And of course dear Helen :)

  • jpstrauss - 2012-08-15 16:39

    I am sure no one deserves to be assaulted, raped, etc. (unless of course they are guilty of such things themselves).

  • wendy.stoffels - 2012-08-23 09:40

    Well said, how do we change the mindset of South Africans to respect each other.

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