Not safe to be a woman in SA

I AM livid. When did it become normal to go on Twitter and expect to see at least one missing person alert or a trending tweet about yet another female being brutally murdered at the hands of her loved one?

Women and girls are being kidnapped and murdered, and all most of us can do is join in on a hashtag and hope for the best.

The justice system isn’t doing enough to protect us.

We have murderers roaming our streets disguised as boyfriends, husbands, friends, brothers, fathers and uncles.

It is not safe to be a woman in South Africa. Here are some shocking statistics about the femicide rate in South Africa, and the rate at which girls and women go missing (from Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa): “Did you know that SA has the highest femicide rate in the world?

One that is five times higher than the average global rate. That means that a woman is killed every eight hours, and at least half of these murders are at the hands of an intimate partner.”

I was unable to find statistics on the rate at which women and girls go missing in South Africa, but Africa Check confirmed that a child goes missing every nine hours.

There hasn’t been a single day over the past three weeks, at least, that I haven’t seen a missing person alert on social media.

If these statistics do not call for a state of emergency, I don’t know what will.

How many more children, girls and women need to go missing or be killed before adequate security and justice measures are implemented?

I am beyond enraged by the recent murder of Zolile Khumalo (21), a MUT student who had broken up with her boyfriend, who will appear in court on June 19 for a formal bail application.

I sat in disbelief as I read his Facebook posts, where he had the nerve to say that she died before he could forgive her!

I am speechless at the callousness of his behaviour.

Another thing that I’ve picked up is the unapologetic attitude and indifference of murderers throughout the trial process.

How can you smile while you’re on trial for murdering a person you supposedly loved?

I also want to address the misconception about the options open to women in abusive relationships.

Initially, I was one of the many misguided people who thought that if women find themselves in abusive relationships, they have the choice to walk away.

I now realise that it is not easy to walk away. You stay and you are abused to death, or you leave and you die at the hands of a man whose ego makes him feel entitled to your life.

This is clearly a prevalent challenge in SA, and the law needs to be amended to protect women.

One thing I know is that if your partner raises his hand to you once, he will do it again, so perhaps the best option is to address or remove yourself from the situation as soon as this happens, instead of hoping that “he won’t do it again”.

Clearly, he will, and he’ll probably go on to murder you.

I am feeling a number of emotions, but mostly anger.

How did we get to this point? Why isn’t the justice system doing anything to fix the situation?

I refuse to believe that I am the only person who thinks that the femicide in our country is a state of emergency, and that it should be treated as such.

Girls and women cannot live every day in fear of being kidnapped, raped or murdered, least of all by people we call brothers, uncles, fathers, guardians.

We cannot carry on like this and something needs to be done, asap.

— HuffPost SA.

Blogger Keitumetse Pule writes about social issues.

Women and girls are being kidnapped and murdered, and all most of us can do is join in on a hashtag and hope for the best.

The justice system isn’t doing enough to protect us.

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