August is commemorated as Women’s Month, paying tribute to over 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on August 9, 1956.
They were protesting against the extortion of the Pass Laws forced on women at the time and they had had enough.
Last week on August 1 women across the country took to the streets again walking in the footsteps of the 1956 group of women to the Union Buildings, this time over the violence against women, children.
This was after the national outcry of women and children raped and killed regularly by their lovers and other men.
Only a few days after the march, we learned about the suicide of a young woman, Khensani Maseko, who was a third year student at Rhodes University.
A beautiful young woman who had ambitions of becoming Mrs South Africa in 2020.
It is alleged she had been battling with depression after she was allegedly raped last year in May by her then lover.
She could no longer take the pain and memories of the day; she decided to cut her life short.
In his response to the allegations the alleged lover said, “How can you forcefully eat what is yours, because my late queen was mine”.
I believe this is the problem in our society, entitlement. This is the one reason behind men killing women and children.
They feel entitled to their beings, saying ‘she is my wife, she is my girlfriend or my daughter, and I don’t need permission from anyone’.
They strongly believe a human being they met in their adult life belongs to no one else but them.
Women in their lives are theirs to do as they please. They can have them whenever they feel like it and they cannot says no to them because they belong to him and only him.
As we commemorate the legacy of the women of 1956 can we also remember to teach young boys that no human being belongs to them?
Can we teach them how to treat and respect women?
While at it, can we also teach them how to accept rejection and respect the decision of others when they say no?
I still believe we can win the battle against gender violence because men are human beings and by now they should understand that we fear for our lives in their hands.
They will, while at their regular meeting spots, address their friends who are abusers. They will call out those who transgress and say not in my name.
The law enforcement agencies will also help us women giving the perpetrators harsher sentences to those who kill and rape women and children.
One life lost at the hands of a man is enough. We cannot continue burying loved ones because a man felt entitled to their body and took away their power.
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