Women And Girls Under Siege
In South Africa, Gender Based Violence has become synonymous with Femicide. In the recent past, murders against women and the girl child have become so rampant, it is scary. There are areas of this country where it is unsafe to be a woman. If you cannot walk to school, visit the post office or just be minding your business at home and be safe as a woman, then something is just wrong with the society and/or community in which you live.
A little girl goes to a restaurant with her mother and in a matter of minutes, while visiting the bathroom; she is raped in broad daylight. Another girl, a teenager visits the post office and again in broad daylight, she is not only raped, but murdered as well. In two different locations, two women are hijacked, raped and murdered and their bodies dumped in a sand dune or in the bush in one week. A girl and her grandfather are murdered and another one is murdered and her body dumped in her grandmother’s yard. These are not lines from a horror movie; they are stories that made news in the last month or so.
South Africa, where did we go wrong? If we are not fighting and killing black foreigners in our land, we are turning against our mothers, sisters and daughters and killing them as if there is no tomorrow. In fact carry this long enough and there will be no tomorrow. How can there be a tomorrow without the woman who brings forth the children of tomorrow? The femicide in South Africa, unlike the so-called xenophobia knows no colour or race. It is simply against the women, teenagers and young girls.
Last week, a group of brave women tried to get the attention of the government and those in high places by storming the World Economic Forum in Cape Town. Though the moment was an embarrassing one for the government, desperate situations call for desperate measures! The South African woman is not giving up and is still pushing to be heard. Members of the African National Congress Women’s League handed over a memorandum of demands at the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court. Today Friday, there was another group that led the Sandton shutdown as they marched to the JSE and delivered their list of complaints. The main complaint was against businesses in the country, especially the big ones who have remained quiet amidst the ongoing violence against women and children. When the nation is under siege, everyone needs to stand up and be counted. The businesses and their patrons may not see it as something that affects them and what they do, but it does. That woman who sets out to take her little girl to crèche and the baby is snatched from her arms and kidnapped could be the CEO’s wife or the little daughter his daughter. Crime like this knows no ranks and everyone should raise their voice and be heard to condemn the on goings and offer assistance to curb the menace.
If this issue is not addressed urgently and from the root, it will end up like the so-called xenophobic attacks on black foreigners that keeps popping its ugly head every few years. Every time there is an uprising against the black foreigners, their businesses are looted, destroyed, or burnt and some of the traders lose their lives too. The femicidal incidences in the country are on the rise and if nothing is done, and quickly, South Africa’s reputation will be totally destroyed. We cannot be a country that dishonours its female offspring and their mothers and remain respected anywhere in the world.
The call for stiff sentences including the restoration of the death sentence against perpetrators of femicide and other violent crimes is coming from a people who have had it with the seemingly inept judicial system. Should these cowards who go after and kill the weak members of the society knew the noose would be their end if caught, they would think twice before trying such a thing. However, because the sentences normally do not match the seriousness of the crime, there is a feeling among these killers that comes out almost as if they are euphoric. They are on a spree to rape and kill as if there is a reward they anticipate. Maybe there is. When they go unpunished and live to carry out their sick deeds another day, don’t they feel rewarded? When they come out of jail with a crime record, and then land a job where they are in a position to repeat their crime or worse isn’t it like a reward from the system?
Those in positions to set the laws need to revisit the laws that govern how these kinds of criminals are sentenced and revise them so that when caught, they are put away forever, castrated and even hanged. You cannot rape and kill an innocent child or a young woman whose life as an adult is just starting or even a new mother and expect mercy. It is time the sentence matched the crime. Nothing else will deter these demented human beings than the fear for their own lives.