Wathint’ abafazi wathint’ imbokodo. A phrase that represents that the courage and strength women embody turns sinister at the hands of men who test to see if women are truly made of stone.
You strike a woman, you strike a human that bleeds and the official numbers are showing that more South African women are bleeding at the hands of men.
63 years ago thousands of women across racial barriers joined forces to protest that they too had a voice that deserved to be heard. It is estimated that about 10,000 to 20,000 women marched to the Union building in Pretoria to demand that they be treated equally as their male counterparts. That they should be given equal opportunity in the work place and society. The fight continues today. However, a bloody line has been drawn in society with women becoming everyday casualties.
“Women’s month is an opportunity to celebrate the strength and courage that women have. However, it is also a platform to highlight that we still have far to go. One month in the year is not sufficient when 334 days of the year women and children go missing and are killed by the hands of men,” says Craig Baker CEO of MiWayLife.
Femicide killing us softly
According to the Gender and Health Research Unit, it was found that 57.1% of murders of women were by an intimate partner. Femicide has risen by 7,7% and there are still 3.3% of men that think it’s acceptable to hit a woman.
“There are many horror stories of women being killed by their partners and often children are affected too. Furthermore, the data reveals that most of these women play a vital role as breadwinners in the household, but do not have the financial resources such as life insurance or investments to create a financial safety net for their family should anything happen to them. Once they have passed on they leave a gaping hole in the family structure and most households are left financially vulnerable. We need to start having an honest conversation about issues faced by women to find ways in which we can better address them,” says Baker.
Small changes to catapult big waves
While changing the situation that women face in South Africa may not occur overnight it starts with small changes. “I may not have all the answers to how we can turn things around, but we have moved towards creating something that creates a financial safety net for women at an affordable premium. We are all about focusing on life and your loved ones.”
More needs to be done when it comes to creating a safe society for women and children in South Africa. “There are still changes that need to be implemented to ensure that women are protected and heard. It is time that we start holding those responsible accountable and build a community that is safer for women and children and women to live in.”
“To protect women in times of war, we must first make sure women receive equal rights in times of peace.” – Martti Ahtisaari