It is something that I feel strongly about, as a survivor of domestic violence, but try not to dwell too much on because frankly, life is for living.
In recent times however, there seems to be one form of violence everywhere you turn and Africa, especially South Africa, has been under the spotlight. It is therefore difficult to overlook or turn a blind eye to what is now rapidly becoming endemic.
It does not help that some of the most recent cases of violence have been high profile, involving actors/actresses, popstars, sportsmen and lately the Oscar Pistorius/Reeva Steenkamp case.
Negative messages are being sent to youths, most of whom are living with violence in their homes. Statistically about one million children a year witness violence in their homes and though there are no real statistics on Africa, the figure could be similar or more. As if that was not bad enough, some celebrities tend to glamorize violence and abuse through their music, believing it is nobody’s business. Unfortunately girls everywhere and Africa in particular look up to such people. Listen girls, it is not cool to go back for more in abusive relationships.
No wonder children as young as 15-17 years are being tried for rape and murder in the case of the the aspiring physiotherapist who was gang raped in Delhi and died later due to the horrific injuries sustained under the attack.
How about the people entrusted with law and are supposed to protect the citizens, while ensuring safety. They are often at the centre of controversies regarding the way they handle the cases (the few that dare lodge a complaint on violence) and deal with victims. In parts of Africa and India, speaking out as a rape victim means being alienated and bringing shame to one’s family; thankfully things are gradually changing due to the hard work of activists and brave women who are keen to put an end to these attacks.
The recent happenings in South Africa; from the miners that were killed by the police to the taxi driver that was tied to a moving van and later found dead in the cell leave a lot to be decided about safety within the community in Africa in the hands of law enforcement agents. They claimed self defense when the victims were not harmed and some of the atrocities are committed in broad daylight, complete with spectators.
The South African president, Jacob Zuma, was quoted by The Guardian as describing the latest incident with the driver as “horrific, disturbing and unacceptable. No human being should be treated in that manner“. Another comment by a South African think tank on governance was that South African police are told to be tough and to “take no nonsense , show no mercy and shoot to kill“.
Sadly that seems to be the case in most, if not all African law enforcement agencies.
Being active on Twitter, I watch helplessly and begin to reflect as I re-tweet helplines for victims of different forms of violence in every part of the world, some in multiple numbers and very few in African countries.
Glowing Future has, to this effect, started a campaign to establish a helpline for victims of abuse, starting from Nigeria with the plan to go on to other parts of Africa.
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