Oscar Pistorius: “Women Marginalised”.

2013-02-18 05:00

The arrest of Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius for the violent death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, who was shot four times on the morning of Valentine’s Day, should serve as a warning that violence between intimate adults is real and rife in our country. This is a wake-up call to all of us, that violence against women is widespread, existent and cannot be ignored.

What really surprises me and possibly many conscience driven people, is that so few link the alleged murder of Steenkamp to abuse or domestic violence. Domestic violence is a behaviour that knows no culture, religion, race, tradition, social status or class.

Worldwide, a woman is abused or assaulted on a daily basis. Not all domestic violence result in violent killings, but every case has that potential of being fatal. There is absolutely no justification for domestic violence and spousal abuse of any kind whether mental, physical, verbal, emotional or sexual and it is totally unacceptable.

It is so unfortunate that instead of displaying affection and mercy to women, many men gain sadistic pleasure in abusing their wives or female partners. No amount of reasoning can substantially justify these heinous acts. It must be addressed collectively by every member of our society.

Spousal abuse is a complex and outlawed subject in most communities and need to be carefully explored, investigated and exposed. No matter who you are, you are likely to have witnessed or had some experience of domestic abuse at some stage in your life.

Spousal abuse, domestic violence and abuse is a daily occurrence in South Africa and should be taken seriously by all especially religious and government leaders.

Do our laws effectively address and redress the trauma suffered by women subjected to spousal abuse or domestic violence? Are girls equipped with the necessary knowledge, tools and skills to effectively respond to abuse? Do they know where to or who to ask for or get help.

Many women believe very few religious leaders know how to handle spousal abuse, conflict resolution or domestic violence. Many cases women feel marginalised or misunderstood. And in most cases religious leaders are not really prepared to engage men who commit these despicable acts.

In order to ensure lasting and harmonious marriages and for every woman to enjoy their fundamental human right to live a life of dignity free from abuse, we need to design and implement effective programs in our institutions to promote mutual commitment to marriage and most importantly we need to prepare our young people for marriage, parenthood and other social responsibilities.

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