OPINION: Tshegofatso Pule is not the first, and certainly won't be the last

Tshegofatso Pule, 28, who was found stabbed and hanged in a veld on Monday. She was eight months pregnant.
Tshegofatso Pule, 28, who was found stabbed and hanged in a veld on Monday. She was eight months pregnant.
@Keba99, Twitter
We need commitment to saving the lives of women, children and unborn infants with the same vigour, intensity and perseverance that is applied to fighting the coronavirus.

Uyinene Mrwetyana – 19-years-old 

Courtney Pieters – 3-years-old

Tazne Van Wyk – 8-years-old 

Genzeni Ernstine "MaMthalane" Zuma – 75-years-old

Meghan Cremer – 30-years-old 

Anene Booysen – 17-years-old

Naledi Phangindawo – 25-years-old

Tshegofatso Pule – 28-years-old

Tshegofatso Pule's unborn baby - …

The name may change, but the narrative remains the same: killed at the hands of a man.

And we are no longer tired, we are beyond exhaustion. When do the women of South Africa get a break?

I hate it here.

In September 2019, women all over the country marched against femicide and the government declared gender-based violence a national crisis.

There was a powerful movement, an outcry by women of this country. The movement lost momentum, and nothing has changed. Roughly eight months later, we return to trending AmINext hashtags, because the more things change, the more they stay the same, right?

#StopKillingWomen trending on social media is not only a cry for help, but it's also a trigger warning.

I celebrated my birthday in September last year, not long after the daunting week in South Africa when women were being raped and murdered at an unprecedented rate.

I was gifted with pepper spray from a dear friend and my parents offered to get smash-and-grab tinting for my car. This left me cringing at my reality, I felt as if I just came out of war with another year of life, and here I was, gifted with the armour I needed for my next battle.

During an address to the nation on Thursday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa said: "It is with the heaviest of hearts that I stand before the women and girls of South Africa this evening to talk about another pandemic that is raging in our country - the killing of women and children by the men of our country."

Now a little louder for the people in the back.

If this is a pandemic, then the president is in no way oblivious to the fact that the necessary steps by government need to be taken to control this pandemic and to find a cure, because it is going to keep spreading and will affect an even greater portion of the population until government intervenes to put in place measures to curb the spread of women and children losing their lives for simply being women and children.

We need commitment to saving the lives of women, children and unborn infants with the same vigour, intensity and perseverance that is applied to fighting the coronavirus.

Enforce and establish a national command council or task team dedicated to implementing measures fitting to transgressions. Communicate with us regularly and keep us informed about what government is actually doing to ensure that we are being looked out for. Give us hope that we may be able to see another day. We need that same energy dedicated to the women and children of our country.

Our fear is on the rise. We are not only scared to raise our children in this country, we now have to be fearful of not being able to bring our own unborn children into this world.

There are far too many stories about women’s bodies being discovered in open velds as opposed to success stories about career milestones and attaining aspired live goals.

Instead of celebrating life's victories, we are forced to remember lives, and instead mourn the losses. These stories are a compilation of a much bigger picture and realisation that women are still not safe and we are still not being heard.

I sometimes think that women aren't being heard because we are fighting as women, and not as a collective humanity. Will our cries and pleas continue to fall on deaf ears and our tears on the graves of the premature? But our pleas have depleted, we are no longer crying, we are on our knees, begging for mercy.

We are exhausted because we have done our part, we have stopped wearing revealing clothing, we walk in groups to be safer, we make sure to share our Uber trips with at least four other friends on our way home and we have marched to the Union Buildings and to Parliament, yet, we are still as vulnerable as we've always been.

How many more women must take their final breaths at the hands of a man?

And eight months from now, will we again be revisited by #AmINext?

- Lauren Klaasen is a content producer at News24.

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