In 2019, after cases of rape, kidnapping and abuse accelerated, South African women took to the streets to protest. Sadly, the protest was warranted because apparently, the continuous echoing of the afflictions of women had constituently been dismissed. Women do not only suffer the plague of silence but there’s always a deliberate attempt to render their woes irrelevant. It’s such a shame that after decades, we still have to have this conversation.
There are those who believe advocates especially feminists are not doing it the right way. This amazes me every single time because the concentration is always shifted from the problem to the people who are part of the movement pressing hard for justice.
According to the UN, an estimated 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives. 70% of women have also experienced physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. (info via. www.unwomen.com)
The statistics is overwhelmingly telling. It means we are either not doing enough advocacy or people just love to oppress women. I can assure you, it is the latter.
Every single time I speak on rape or abuse, there’s always someone who is quick to decode the information from a wrong lens. It’s as if in order to crave people’s indulgence on justice, I need permission.
The feedback is sometimes cringe worthy. They always say, “it looks like you’ve been triggered” “it looks like you’re speaking from experience” “it looks like someone might’ve abused you” “it looks like you have a history of family violence” and some go on to ask personal questions. This makes my heart ache. We need to understand that;
Experiences are not only valid when they happen to the people we love.
Justice is not for a certain group of people but for all.
To recognize justice only when we are affected is why injustices continue to occur.
You and I don’t have to wait to experience it, we need to wake up and fight. We don’t have to jump onto the bandwagon “not all men” to feel better when many atrocities are being perpetuated in homes, religious institutions, offices and in the society at large.
If people call advocates bitter, angry or pathetic for screaming for justice, then so be it. I personally will wear that crown of honour because we don’t have to wait for people like James Tetteh, a 39 year old farmer who defiled and impregnated his 15 year old daughter, or Eric Kofitse, who defiled his 13 year old step daughter to happen. (info via www.ghanaweb.com)
We don’t have to follow the hype “boys will be boys” when too many women are ripped off of their innocence. By saying boys will be boys, you’re saying it’s perfectly fine that girls and women suffer oppression. Boys will be boys is an affirmation that the existence of women and girls is as good as the pain they endure.
We don’t have to wait for another incident of rape or defilement in our schools before we speak up. We don’t need to police the way women dress to suit the vast majority who have an erroneous impression that women or girls attract rapists, especially when a 3 year old was sexually abused by 38 year old fufu pounder. (info via www.ghanaweb.com)
We need to break away from the chaotic urgency to protect the identities of sex offenders. Religious organizations and traditional rulers need to desist from settling rape cases at home. We don’t know who the next victim is. We don’t also know who the next rapist or abuser is, that is why women say, stop getting hurt when they call out men. You are privileged enough to only get offended but women need to live everyday with the reality that they might be the next victim of rape or abuse.
Boys will not be boys!!! Everyone should be made responsible and accountable for their actions.