Monday marked the beginning of 16 Days of Activism against gender violence. Now look, I’m not naïve – I know full well that this type of initiative seldom leads to tangible change. Yet I believe that it is still very important to drive awareness, show support and give survivors a chance to tell their stories. Is that too much to ask?
Apparently it is.
On News24’s homepage on Monday the voting booth looked like this:
During this year's 16 Days of Activism campaign:
I plan to get involved 13% 865 votes
I don’t feel like doing anything 65% 4202 votes
I’ll treat women and kids around me better 22% 1416 votes
65% of people feel like doing nothing? This might sound odd, but that result really hurt my feelings. And I’ve never even suffered abuse. Still, it hurts to think we live in a country where women and children are being brutalised daily and the where, what seems like the majority of people, just don’t care.
And infuriatingly it is precisely why rape, murder, mutilation and torture of women and children is so rife. The perpetrators get away with it because people just don’t care. Friends, family, neighbours, strangers, hell, even the police are all basically saying “Go on. Beat your wife until her face caves in. Burn your child with cigarettes. It’s okay. It’s between you guys.”
So when the interwebs were abuzz about Chris Brown’s latest example of woman-hatred on the same day as the awful vote result the coincidence left a bitter taste in my mouth.
A cool and outspoken woman I’ve followed for years was passionately defending Chris Brown on Twitter. Apparently he had been forced by an evil bully to delete his Twitter profile.
I hate bullies. Yet I was a bit suspicious. How could a relatively unknown female comedy writer make a superstar close one of his major channels of communication with his fans?
Then I saw this story on The Huffington Post with screenshots of the actual tweets. Predictably Breezy wasn’t the victim here – in fact – he slipped back into the mode of abuser with lightning-fast ease and was sexually threatening and trying to humiliate this woman before you could say grievous bodily harm.
And now he’s coming to South Africa a few days after 16 Days of Activism? I just don’t understand why society lets violent, abusive men get away with so much. Please help me here with your thoughts?
Love and donations,