365 Days of Activism

2016-12-07 15:39

“Imagine if, for 16 days, there was no rape, no child abuse,” is a quote I saw and found quite disturbing.

Why only 16 days? Why not 365 days?

The campaign for 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children in South Africa has been going on for years now. It has however, got me thinking, or rather questioning, what exactly are we trying to achieve with these campaigns? 

In a way, perhaps through my own personal ignorance, I can’t exactly say I learnt something in the past few years the campaigns have been running. We have a tendency, as a nation, to sugar coat issues or rub through the surface without digging deep into root causes so we can establish real solutions.

South Africa is still home to high levels of violence against its women and children despite a world-renowned Constitution and a legislative overhaul that safeguards women's and children's rights. We seem to however, not be having the right conversations. How do we eradicate this issue if we can’t clearly identify its cause?

For instance, the issue of masculinity as taught to young boys growing up could be one infiltrator to the problem. When a young man is raised to believe they should be strong, any sign of emotion or weakness is ridiculed. Could it then be that some perpetrators are merely looking to ascertain their power by bullying and abusing those around them?

I’m not by any chance advocating for any form of abuse, under no circumstances. One thing we know is if someone grew up experiencing or witnessing any form of abuse, studies show that they are most likely to abuse others at a later stage. Of course this applies to both men and women.

Men, in particular, are known not to be very expressive species. Often they bottle up issues they face within them and the results being random outbursts, outrages, abuse, alcoholism, etc.  Individuals choose to physically or emotionally abuse and they make these choices because they can and often without consequences to themselves.

Something has gone horribly wrong in the home front. Our families are broken; our society is made up of broken families. Perpetrators of violence belong to families while we have a famous saying that charity begins at home. There has to be a constant focus to rebuild the family unit with proper setups, values, morals and behaviours. Our societal outlook, perceptions and mindsets needs to shift. We cannot afford to focus on such issues only on commercialised periods but rather engage on these on a daily basis.

Read more on:    16 days of activism
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