By Dumezweni Ndweni
Gender abuse especially in the form of violence is one monster that has been wreaking havoc in South African homes for many years. It is in many shapes and form; it can be physical: a beating, slapping, strangling, disfiguring of the body, emotional, verbal. ‘’Gender based violence (GBV) is the general term used to capture violence that occurs as a result of the normative role expectations associated with each gender, along with the unequal power in relationships between the two genders within the context of a specific society,’’ (Bloom 2008, p14).
Women abuse is so deeply rooted in our society to a point that it is normalized and no longer shocking. According to (Singh 2005: 190) women are particularly vulnerable to certain forms of victimization such as marital violence, rape and sexual harassment. In many cases women are victimized by familiar figures in their environment such as a father, spouse, family member, friend or acquaintance (Dastile 2015:32-35; Singh 2005:190). What all this means is women are mostly abused by the people they trust and feel safe with.
‘’Most battered women experience shame and guilt that may be ascribed to the abuse, (Singh 2005: 190). Abused people do get psychologically scarred from the trauma of the abuse. Many factors play a role or rather have an influence on women abuse such as alcohol abuse, drugs, poverty, unemployment, depression, stress, upbringing, power assertion and etc. Alcohol in our society is a problem, in South Africa we are a drinking society, and with drinking alcohol as a chief activity and as a source of diversion from problems such as unemployment, stress and crime. People who abuse alcohol are likely to lose control and be violent with others.
Abuse is a new norm
It is a norm in our country for men to go drinking at the local tavern and when drunk come home and terrorise the family and wake up the next day like nothing happened. Men who abuse their families after drinking, when they do get home they erupt as volcanoes and they breathe fire in the form of violence against their wives, girlfriends, mothers and even their own children. Alcohol not only gives them power it gives them the excuse. Poor upbringing and lack of role models for boys in our society is one of the reasons boys see nothing wrong with their violent behaviours towards females.
We can look at our celebrities, they are part of the problem especially from the hip hop side of music and football stars. In Hip hop the lyrics are so degrading to women and have zero regard to the message being sent to young boys who follow this genre. Females are degraded in the music videos, they are seen as objects to be paraded naked and called hoes and b*tches and other bad terms but nothing wrong detected from the music because it sells.
We celebrate women abuse
Chris Brown comes to mind when he battered and bruised then girlfriend Rihanna. In our country even public figures are part of the problem, one can mentioned ANC MP Mduduzi Manana who was found guilty of assaulting two women in a club and recently was accused of physical abuse by his helper.
We also have kwaito stars like Bricks who was found guilty of rape. And well the justice system hasn’t been so harsh on women abusers only exemptions being high profile cases with much public scrutiny and involvement other than that people abuse women and face minimum if any consequences at all.
A case that sent chills in Mzansi is the one of Karabo Mokoena the young Soweto woman was killed by her boyfriend the convicted Sandile Mantsoe is a prime example of how nasty and how far abuse against women has gone. How common are police officer’s murder suicide in SA how many times have we read on the media of cops killing or shooting their partners?
It’s an SA culture
Abuse and violence against women is entrenched deeply in our society. A hash tag made rounds #menaretrash and men were in uproar over it and defended themselves individually which is irrelevant to the fact that women are abused by men and what is worst is they are abused by people they least expect the attack from.
So to understand this problem further TMS engaged men of different age groups and backgrounds , and professions on the causes of abuse of women, and possible solutions for this problem of violence against women. Because men are not only part of the problem but they also part of the solution as well and we gave them a chance to be heard.
The cause of abuse is alcohol, depression and a growing up in a background where women are abused. The solution is to support and not judge the victim, give victims help and NGOs must offer assistance and the police must arrest abusers. Women should leave unhealthy relationships.
As we grow up we learn certain values, rules. Basically just ways to live from society and as we know the guys’ background also play a part perhaps the father was abusive and he picked it up (uhm I’d suggest therapy for the kid).
Older men tend to lack civil way to express how they feel and would take it out on their partner (for that I suggest marriage counselling; they might get help) Then we have drunk abusers these are the type of people who always felt what they say or do is either wrong or judged so they wait for their ‘’I don’t give a sh*t moment (booze)’’ then they unleash and they abuse women because they want to show they have power and I suggest alcohol anonymous for them.
Lastly I’ll mention the conservative abusers these abusers are the type that believe umfazi uya shawa (wife must be discipline through the beating). I have no idea how to deal with these yet.
Working with society bro, we can only educate society and try to show people the way. But then it has to be the individual who decide upon themselves and start doing the right thing. The causes of abuse are sexual frustrations and pressure from society to act as a man.
Abuse stems from a point where the abuser himself is generally from an abusive home, maybe he was abused himself by a parent or bullied at school things like that.
Abusers have often been made to feel worthless by circumstances in their own lives. For instance if somebody is unable to provide or he has a woman who earns more than him and he is insecure about it then he might be abusive to his partner. Insecurities men by nature tend to feel that they need to be dominant in every relationship.
Let’s face it can’t be stopped males will always have power over women physically and it is wrong I admit but you need to realize that there will always be the abuser and the abused. You become the abuser if not the abused. Remember a tree is given its shape while young not when it is fully grown.
Look the causes of abuse are many and will take forever to mention. What I’ll mention on the under hand is that to end abuse we must start from root level. Shape young men when they still young. Don’t focus much energy on girls because they so called weak ones! men are the weaker ones. We also need to be nurtured and loved. If we can’t find that or somehow feel unloved that is when the abuse starts. Which for me is a sign of begging for the woman’s full attention and love.
Women abuse refers to the repetitive use of power control tactics by a man to intimidate and dominate a female. It can involve the ever present credible threat of physical violence. Recommendations: Speak up, negotiation and fairness, confront yourself, be aware.
There you have it the views from our readers and their proposed solutions to women abuse.
A plea to males in Mzansi please report abusers even when it’s your friend, family or boss. We should stop the culture of protecting each other. How many times have people said enough is enough? Women are being killed, raped and beaten in our societies and it’s up to us to bring a halt to abuse against women because it is our own hands that deliver the fists, our legs that do the kicking and our mouths that do the cussing.