Expert: Gender violence not normal

2013-10-17 17:21

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Bloemfontein - South Africans must tell each other that violence, especially violence against women and children, is not normal, gender analyst Nomboniso Gasa said on Thursday.

South African history was founded in violence, and gender-based violence had been "constituted and reconstituted in our society", she said.

Gasa was speaking at the first international Leah Tutu Symposium at the University of the Free State on gender violence.

Referring to the recent deaths of two Diepsloot toddlers, Gasa said academics and society struggled to find the right words to describe sexual violence and rape against women and children.

"Language fails us," she said about adult men raping baby girls.

Gasa said South Africans needed to find a way to speak about the many types of gender-based violence acts.

This included incest, rape in the family or community circle, depressed men committing suicide and killing wives and children, and issues such as 70-year-olds taking child brides.

"This is another form of rape."

Gasa said society should ask why its young men returning from the bush and initiation schools spoke the same language as gangs in prisons.

"Nobody wants to speak about it - but young men come back and they only want to test drive their Mercedes, BMWs or Maseratis."

Village girls were the ones suffering the consequences.

"They say its not custom, but it happens."

Gasa said the country had come up with policies and legislation to curb gender-based violence but the level of violence against women and children was nearly out of control.

Read more on:    bloemfontein  |  rape  |  child abuse

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