Violence is normalised, the headlines do not come as a surprise.
By Ntsako Mlambo (Child.of.Afrika)
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 9 of VARSITY News.
Gender-Based Violence and femicide are persistent problems in South Africa. Between the month of March and April there were 5,082 cases reported of violence inflicted on women and children, out of those 3,373 arrests were made but only 204 were prosecuted. Gender-Based Violence can be blamed on three things: Our highly traumatic past, our highly patriarchal society and our justice system.
During the era of apartheid, human lives did not matter. The dehumanisation of people during that time has bled its way into today. Women and children are treated and killed in unimaginable ways and our highly patriarchal society does not want to speak about this. Two in five women will be beaten by their domestic partners every day. Violence is normalised in our country and our justice system is to blame for that. Our justice system is flawed, the persecution rate is very low and police do not investigate properly. Perpetrators infringe the rights of women and children knowing that they will not be held accountable. Perpetrators are let out on bail, they come back to society and they reoffend. The cycle of violence continues.
Kwasa was brutally murdered recently, so was Shanice Jonathan and Uyinene Mrwetyana last year. Lerato Moloi was harassed and the hands of justice have not been there to save her. This all feels very familiar. Right now, as we speak there is a woman or child who is being harassed or violated in this country. The citizens of this country do not have trust or any faith in the justice system because of its continuous failure of serving justice and protecting people. The justice system needs to do better; police must be trained well so they are able to investigate cases properly, there must be strict and substantive consequences so that perpetrators think twice about offending the law. Education about our past must be taught extensively; teaching it at surface level is only putting us behind, traumas must be addressed so we progress and post-trauma counselling must be offered in the education curriculum.
Gender-Based Violence in our country gets worse every year. Women and children cannot live their lives in fear. We cannot dedicate time into protests every year for someone to get raped and murdered again. The justice system needs to stand up for its people; they know what they need to do.
We are done talking.
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