SA: War on GBV not yet won

SA: War on GBV not yet won

Date: August 9, 2018
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by Sandiswa Manana

Johannesburg, 06 Aug: A week ago, thousands of women took part in a ‘total shut down’ movement whereby they took initiation to raise their concerns about the escalating gender-based violence (GBV) occurrences. Fighting against rape culture was one of the things that got women marching to the Union Buildings at Pretoria.

A few days after the march, a young lady by the name of Khensani Maseko took her life because she was raped. It is very funny how rapists would rape and leave a victim broken while they continue living their lives like nothing happened.

Maseko reportedly to have committed suicide at her family’s home in Johannesburg on Friday afternoon.  Khensani was a third year BA student at Rhodes University and the SRC of the university has expressed shock at her instant death.  She was an SRC alumnus and a member of the Economic Freedom Fighters.

The death of Maseko comes at a time where South Africans are looking to celebrate Women’s Day. Tribute messages have been flooding in the social media to honour this young woman, with most conveying the message that ‘No Woman Deserves to be raped.’

While the country is fighting for gender equality and women’s rights, patriarchal actions keep dragging the country ten steps back. The fact that some men still think that they are entitled to women’s bodies is proof that there is still a long way to go in achieving equality. Will GBV occurrences ever come to an end? Will men ever stop seeing women as sex objects?

Maseko was one young woman who was trying to find her feet in the society and obtain her degree. Then came a ruthless man and destroyed all her dreams. She wrote on her Twitter “When people ask for help, help them.” In her death she has made many people conscious that every situation that a person may overcome and needs help with, try by all means to help them.

Sometimes it takes many years for many women to open up about their rape experiences. People like Andile Gaelisiwe, a popular TV presenter, kept quiet for years, but when she spoke about it a few years back you could still tell that the wound was still fresh. It does not matter how long it has been that a person was raped, it is a wound that can bleed for decades.

It becomes very said if a rapist roams out of the streets because of ‘lack of evidence’. What does that do to a victim? It shatters her heart in pieces. A victim may look strong but deep down inside she might be bleeding.

No woman deserves to be raped. Every woman is entitled to her own decisions, her body is her pride and she has every right to say ‘NO’. The likes of Zolile Khumalo and Khensani Maseko will always be a reminder of how young women’s lives were tormented and bruised by toxic masculinities.

Masekos death like many other  women who have died due to GBV should teach us a lesson that the war on GBV is not yet won and we need to keep pushing boundaries in this fight.

Sandiswa Manana is an Alliance Intern at GL. This article is part of GL News and Blogs.

Photo: Courtesy to SABC News.

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