Over the past few months femicide has been a major topic in South Africa. If you are unfamiliar with the term, femicide is used to describe “the killing of a woman or girl, in particular by a man and on account of her gender.”. With young women such as Karabo Mokeona and Zolile Khumalo being killed by ex boyfriends. It seems that the idea of safety, particularly for women, is still very far off. Especially when considering all the other issues women face in South Africa and the world.
Which is why writing this article has taken such a long time. Because whilst the stories may seem too gruesome to be true. They are true, and beyond that, they affect us women in both little and big ways. And overcoming that trauma can be difficult. But what can we do when killing of women by men continues to rise at such an alarming rate? I know I for one am scared to interact with men. Or even stand up for myself when being verbally abused by men in shopping malls or any other public place. Which is why I think it is important to bring men into the discussion.
To hold them accountable for each other and and help break the cycle of abuse and violence against women. Especially as it is affecting us all in one way or another. So whether you have a brother, a son, a husband, or even a friend. I think its important to talk about your fears as a woman. And encourage the men in your life to stop and intervene when they see a woman being harassed. Especially in public places where they can see it.
It is also important to remind men that they hold no claim to women. That we are not objects that they can use, abuse, and even kill if they feel their masculinity is being questioned. Because after all, our sole purpose as women is not to be the mans punching bag or object. Because I am not sure about you ladies, but I for one feel helpless and scared every time I hear of another woman killed by a man. And realize that the time for change is now. Especially if we hope to bring an end to femicide, and start working together to protect women and girls.