Talking through violence

2017-05-12 09:52

"Violence is the only way the government listens to us", "When a boy likes you he hits you" and "Its the only way" are examples of how engraved violence is in the structure of our homes, gender roles, politics and overall make up of our country. This language of violence finds itself red facing each and everyone one of us as we revisit this attitude of "No to Violence' only when something happens yet it has been building up in the manner in which we treat each other on a daily. We are seeing ourselves staring at the reality of a very undemocratic South Africa.

Violence is strangling the prospects of all South Africans and very little is being done to curb this cancer that is growing by the day. It has become clear that where human contact exists violence will be found. The violence that eats away the relationships that remain in a country where violence was and still is a means to communicate between people. We have to move beyond a point where violence is the only way we listen to each other. The ongoing protests in Coligny, South of Johannesburg and as of today Nelspruit. Show a conflict being once again resolved through violence at a time where the performance of the Rand is not our only worry. We are witnessing increased violence against women and children all this despite our routine moments of acknowledgement of our faults and commitments to upset the status quo. We are failing each other as South Africans and the greater tragedy is that we wont be alive 50 years from now to answer the victims of our ignorance.

According to The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation "Individuals, feeling powerless in the face of dramatic social and economic upheaval, frequently symbolically reassert their power through violence in those dimensions of their lives in which they still feel they hold sway. This results in much aggression which, although social or political at root, is expressed through displaced violence within the family and in the home." This goes a way in explaining the problems that be. The very foundations of South Africa are rigged for a people that will soon erupt on each other and surrounding African nations as we have seen countless times with Xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals. We have an increasing unemployment crisis in South Africa meaning an increasing number of people resort to desperation to keep alive. We have more prisons than we have universities suggesting where our expectations lie. We create a society to breed criminals. We have poor or little policy reform on key industries that could benefit South Africans, We continue selling bits and part of South Africa to big business who have very little social responsibility further entrenching ourselves to a prolonged struggle to economic liberation. Our human rights commitment is showing a nation caring less about the poor which creates further animosity. Perhaps the biggest downfall at the backdrop of this all is our lack of commitment in protecting women and children.

Women in South Africa are angry and rightfully so, as human trafficking is on a surge coupled with continued violence against them and children. The triggering aspect of this cancer is the fact violence has become normalised to an extent where it has become a shock not being raped in a country where women get raped and sexually abused on a daily. That shows the moral decay of men and who are the perpetrators in more ways than one. The devastating reality about this is that women have been vocal on the issues that affect them however in a patriarchal society as South Africa it is better off not spoken about. A common practice amongst South Africans when it comes to dealing with issues. What is wrong about South Africa is that we fail the victims on a societal level and also at an institutional level. The failure leads people to take measures that will undoubtedly result in widespread processes of revenge and retribution - already beginning to plague this nation.

On an institutional level there is a serious need to ensure that our policing systems, legislation and justice needs to be served. A slap on the wrist wont do, sugar coating wont do but making an example will. There should legislation that aims to empower the people that need help the most. The simple fact is that if justice must be done we should see it take place. We must engage and not ignore issues as we have so done in the past. This means that the trauma of victims of violence and human rights abuses must be acknowledged. Victimisation and marginalisation of the people that come public with their abuses should be prohibited and punished. We should seek a new national identity that reflects a people that take care of each other instead of talking through violence we must talk through the violence. We must rid ourselves of the culture of violence.

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