Gender violence

‘Unwanted, dirty’ – reading a Chinese woman’s memoir (I)

— Written while recuperating from a broken hand and wrist How everything is already memory. His broken hand cradled, cupped and listened to as its slow bones knit back. The wonder of watching his fingers and palm go through their re-blooming: the fingers learning again to outstretch, then bunch up like an evening blossom that…

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On not just walking past

It’s Sunday. I go to a mall to get some art supplies. It’s an ordinary mall, outdated even, with strange linoleum flooring and an assortment of second-hand stores and haberdasheries. It’s the type of mall your gran goes to for wool, or other assorted items needed when growing older. So imagine my surprise when I…

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Independent women

When I found out that I was pregnant I felt sorely close to falling into the trenches of a “black stereotype”. I already had no man and no job, all I needed was a Standard 8 qualification, a monthly government social grant, a mkhukhu (RDP house still pending), and I would have been well on…

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Beyond the noise: Acting against rape

I am a panellist on SABC2’s Big Debate. The subject is violence against women and the discussions dense with the mismatch of ideas. A sample: Satanism stalks our schools. We live in a demoncrazy — not a democracy. Women who wear 3cm skirts abuse men. Patriarchy is deeply rooted in our lives and thinking. The…

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On sexuality and freedom

“It is not enough to inquire into how women might become more fully represented in language and politics. Feminist critique ought also to understand how the category of ‘women’, the subject of feminism, is produced and restrained by the very structures of power through which emancipation is sought.” Judith Butler: Gender Trouble. At first read,…

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Consent is king KK

NUMBER 1 — Transactional sex is not only really uncool, it is also really dangerous Kenny Kunene went on Noeleen last week with five of his 15 girlfriends (who he only likes to be under the age of 24). Multiple concurrent partners are, as we all should know by now (yet a certain Simply Red…

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Porn bad for the brain, bad for women

Jacques Rousseau’s article in the Mail & Guardian (March 22-27 2013) titled “The naked truth about porn on television” cannot go unchallenged. Rousseau is the chairperson of the Free Society Institute and defends the viewing of pornography on television. His intervention in the recent debate about whether we should allow pornography on television is clearly…

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Behind the shock and awe, the violence is ‘normal’

The murders of miners at Marikana by brutal state apparatus, the rape and murder of Anene Booysen by a group of men, and the killing of Reeva Steenkamp by her male lover have common threads. All three reflect a confluence of systems of violence that span centuries. Each is a product of past and prevailing…

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A correct police response to domestic violence could save lives

Every eight hours in South Africa, a woman is murdered by her intimate partner. Three a day. At least. The Preamble of the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) states that victims of domestic violence are among the most vulnerable members of society. The DVA describes a variety of behaviours that can be classified as domestic violence…

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Never tired enough to stop

I am tired of rape in South Africa. I am tired of thinking about it, reading about it, hearing about it. I am tired of the fact that last year more than 60 000 women (enough to fill the Greenpoint Stadium) reported a rape to the police, and hundreds of thousands more women were raped but…

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