Women’s Day used to really bug me.
It bugged me that we got a day out of the year like some subculture or niche group; a nice little pat on the head to keep us sweet by pretending “women’s issues” matter.
It bugged me that we were suddenly supposed to be grateful for a measly day, when everyone knows the disparity between the sexes, when it comes to earning power and the division of wealth vs. the division of labour is still ridiculously unfair.
It bugged me that so many men had the temerity to state that they won’t support Women’s Day because there’s not a Men’s Day when – if you have half a brain you know – that the whole year is bloody Men’s Day.
But what bugged me the most was the cheesy, nonsensical platitude-ridden PR spin on this whole thing. I swear, if I have to listen to one more schpiel about South Africa “celebrating women’s power” or “appreciating our beauty” or “commemorating our courage” I might vomit.
How are we appreciating our beauty when over 90% of us are unhappy about our bodies? How are we celebrating our strength when a woman gets raped every 30 seconds? And how are we supposed to commemorate our courage when rapists and abusers and killers of children do not get convicted, even after we are courageous enough to speak up and follow the correct channels.
Most importantly though: why is rape and abuse regarded as a “female issue”?
We are not the perpetrators. We are the victims. Men are the perpetrators. Which means MEN should stand up and stay enough. MEN must use their power to stop this from happening. MEN must start caring about the fact that their women are unsafe in their streets and in their own homes.
This is a male problem. This is a male issue.
So I want to take this Women’s Day to ask the men of South Africa: Help us. Stop ignoring what is happening to us. Stop blaming women for the abuse they suffer. Stop washing the blood off your hands.
Teach your sons to respect women. Do something when your neighbour or your friend or even your brother treats a woman badly. Convict these criminals. Stop pretending the horror isn’t real just because you don’t partake in it.
Do something. Please.