At the core of the problem is a lack of education and addressing attitudes toward women is key.
THE #Kwanele (we have had enough) protest is set to take place on Friday, 13 September outside the Durban Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC) at 10am. Tamsyn Allison, who is on the planning committee for the protest, spearheaded a recent gathering outside Durban City Hall, which saw about 100 women and a few men gathered in solidarity against femicide and gender-based violence.
Similar protest action has erupted across the country in recent weeks as communities reacted to the spate of attacks against women, including Uyinene Mrwetyana, Janika Mallo, Leighandre Jegels and Jesse Hess who were abused and murdered.
At the core of the problem is a lack of education and addressing attitudes toward women as they manifest in speech, ‘jokes’ and thought processes is key. Allison unpacked the vital role that men play in educating other men.
“Unfortunately there seems to be a trend of men taking to platforms and performing allyship without doing the work to educate themselves first. There’s a lot of talk about the ‘why’ and ‘how’ right now, but the base line for me is this: If all of us were taught to recognise and respect active and enthusiastic consent as the fundamental element of our interactions with one another, our society would make enormous strides toward healing, and putting and end to violence and violation. The onus is absolutely on men to change the shape of their culture, by being vigilant in their interactions with one another, by being mindful of the behaviour they are modeling for those who look up to them, and by encouraging and demanding accountability among those within their spheres of influence,” she said.
Shifting blame from the victim onto the perpetrator is another issue that Allison addressed: “The burden of self defence just allows for further victimisation of the most vulnerable in our society. What four year old can overpower a grown man? Why must we buy our asthmatic grandmothers a purse-sized pepper spray? No!”
“We have the right to exist. Just exist. The fact that we have to explain and assert and remind and demand that existence be free from the daily fear of rape and murder is problematic in and of itself,” she added.
Allison encouraged the community not to give up hope, but to join local movements, even if it’s simply by showing support online or giving funding to NGO’s.“Educate yourselves on social issues and how they play into these atrocities, rather than relying on the voices of your childhood,” she added.
Source: Sandton Chronicle