A violent man does not just become violent out of the blue

2018-08-08 12:05

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What have we become as a nation? We seem to have so much anger. Gender-based violence needs to be looked at from a broader point of view and not be reduced to a problem of government only.

We know the perpetrators, as they are our brothers, uncles, nephews and so forth. We would see the women with a blue eye and we would just say sorry in most cases and not act in making sure that the man is reported to the police and the woman is given all the support she needs.

When such incidents occur, we need to understand that it is not the woman’s fault, as these men who are abusive have a tendency of making women feel that it is their fault that they assault them.

What is our role in society as individuals? We all have a role to play in making sure we fight this monster that is destroying the lives of young women in the main, as they are the most affected.

What role are our mothers playing when their sons are the perpetrators or their daughters are victims? What role are we playing when we see that our sisters are in an abusive marriage or relationship?

What role are fathers and uncles playing when they see that their sons are abusive towards their loved ones? Charity begins at home. Shifting everything onto government won’t help us, because government does not live with us in our houses.

Most women will stay in a marriage that is abusive whether emotionally or physically because in our African culture, you are told to stick it out as a woman. You will be given all sorts of reasons by the elders within the family why you should stay in the marriage. The man will ask for forgiveness and nothing will happen to him. He will do it again and always say I am sorry when a family meeting is called.

It needs to start with us in our families how we handle such matters and our mothers have a huge role to play in our homes to fight gender-based violence.

As neighbours we tend to look away and say it is none of our business. There are men who every time they are drunk, beat up their wives or partners and it just becomes normal.

In many cases, you find the woman staying in the marriage or relationship because she is not financially stable to take care of herself. Many women come from poor backgrounds and going back home is not an option, as they do not have a guarantee that they will have three meals every day. They therefore end up staying in an abusive marriage or relationship and dying inside for the sake of basic needs that they can’t afford.

Leaving the kids will not be even an option, because how do you leave your kids behind with a man who has become a monster?

It's high time we all take responsibility to play our role in our households and not turn away when we see that even our friends are in abusive relationships. At times we have a tendency to say, “My friend don’t worry it will be fine.” However, once the guy kills her, we to want to be the voice of reason while we did nothing when our friend was crying out that all is not well in the relationship.

It all starts with emotional abuse, which later leads to physical abuse and at times the woman would be even raped by her partner. She would even be scared to report him to the police or even speak out, as it is not a common thing in South Africa for a woman to report her man for rape.

A violent man does not just become violent out of the blue. A proper foundation for a boy child is important, and parents bear this primary responsibility. From a very young age, young girls are taught to be submissive by their parents in the name of culture. A boy child is taught to fight, as he is a boy. Sometimes, they end up even beating up their schoolmates (girls) from a very young age. That behaviour often continues and you find them at home beating up their younger sisters and nothing is being done to stop them and teach them that it is wrong to hit girls.

- Rebone Tau is a former ANCYL National Task Team member and writes in her personal capacity.

Read more on:    gender based violence  |  women's month  |  women's day

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