Male-dominated culture still prevalent in Overberg – social worker

2016-04-07 19:00

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Cape Town – A male-dominated culture is still prevalent in the Overberg region, according to a local social worker.

"It’s the cultural thing... you don’t have a say as a woman and should keep quiet," said Chane Smit, who assisted families on behalf of the Afrikaanse Christelike Vroue Vereeniging centre in Bredasdorp.

"Communities often look down on it and just don’t accept it. Some people choose to keep quiet and others speak out."

The town has seen a string of especially brutal murders of young women in the past few years.

In 2013, Bredasdorp was "put on the map" following the rape and disembowelment of 17-year-old Anene Booysen after she left a local pub.

Most recently, Sulnita Manho, 22, was raped and killed in the early hours of Saturday, apparently also after leaving the same pub with a man.

"There was a rope on her neck. She was raped and a bottle was put in her private parts. The person took a brick and hit her on the head," councillor and Napier CPF member, Evelyn Sauls, told News24.

A power thing

Smit said she had been lucky not to have deal with too many cases involving abuse against women and children.

Sometimes the tables were turned. Female partners were responsible for emotionally abusing their other half, she said.

“It is definitely a power thing and also has a lot to do with fidelity, in my experience,” Smit said.

Unsurprisingly, the region was not immune to the struggles of unemployment, poverty and drug abuse.

Sauls said many teenagers did not go to school. Those who managed to pass matric could not find work.

Problems were often rooted in early childhood.

Smit said poor parenting and a lack of basic social skills were a reality many youngsters faced in the region.

“It’s almost like some people have never learnt to socialise. We have got a lot of sweet people but they don’t have much in terms of the norms and standards of socialising,” she said.

Bond with parents

Children did not always have an initial secure attachment to their parents, Smit said. “If you never initially formed a bond with a parent, then you are already behind on your developmental level by the time you get to school. That is where the process starts.”

Smit emphasised that there were exceptions where communities were very family-orientated. In Arniston, for example, people looked out for each other and made sure there was enough food on everyone's tables.

People in the region were said to be very upset about the latest killing.

"They want to do something, but they don’t know what," said Sauls. "I really don’t know what is going on.”

Preliminary investigations led to the arrest of a 20-year-old man shortly after the Manho’s death.

He was expected back in the Bredasdorp Magistrate’s Court on rape and murder charges next week.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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