Gender violence

Nothing to correct

When children are born, parents and those around them begin the work of “correcting” them. They correct their poor eyesight with glasses, their spelling and grammar with extra lessons, and perhaps their posture with etiquette classes. There is a common feeling in today’s world that everything is possible, and there is no reason not to…

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Is women murdering their partners an unreasonable response?

In the past few years the law has been evolving to give consideration and lighter sentences to women who murder their abusive partners. You could argue that these women did what any reasonable woman would do in the same circumstances. Let me be clear before the deliberate misreaders of my pieces accuse me of inciting…

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School sexual bullying: Where do we begin?

Education is one of the key Millennium Development Goals and it is critical to the development of South Africa’s democracy. The recent Jules rape case has brought the idea that our children aren’t safe in their schools to everyone’s attention. This case is particularly complex and horrifying because of the reported reactions of other learners…

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Femicidal South Africa

The maximum sentence for femicide is only half the maximum sentence for fraud, yet 1 400 women die every year because they are murdered by their intimate partners. Powa brought this to our attention earlier this year with their video showing how people would respond to loud drums late at night, but they would not respond…

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Rape culture — bad for you, bad for me, bad for everyone

I would argue that most South Africans have endured rape culture which allows violence to persist with little resistance. It’s undeniable that things aren’t right in South Africa when it comes to sexual violence. Last year’s crime stats show 68 332 reported “sexual offences” and this doesn’t account for the many offences which aren’t reported. There…

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16 days of activism: Are we there yet?

Every year Women’s Day, Women’s Month and the 16 Days of Activism roll around and we hear some really great speeches from those in power. Every year, as these events tick by we see NGOs around the country rallying their troops to march, educate, inform and assist. Why? What are these days even about? Do…

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Statutory rape screws the Jules case over

Hearing that the girl who was allegedly drugged, then gang raped, while being filmed by her peers had now been charged with statutory rape alongside her alleged rapists, I almost gave up hope. But then I realised that the sheer scale of this injustice is important because it will hopefully rally us to demand justice….

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A Zambian embarrassment at the Victim Empowerment Conference

I have had the fortune (or misfortune … I’m not quite sure yet) to be at the International Conference on Victim Empowerment this week. We began yesterday with 12 hours of travelling, no food and shower that I had to run circles in to get wet and I had hoped that today would be better….

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The noises next door

Every year 1 400 women are killed by their partners, and maybe we were listening. If your neighbour plays music really loud on a week night, do you go over and ask them to keep it down? If they start banging their drums at 9pm in a residential area, do you think you should ask them…

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Do you have to say NO for it to be rape?

I was talking with some family members a while back about rape and something scary became apparent. Most people think that there is a grey area between yes and no, and that sometimes even when you say no, people are still sympathetic to the person who continues to have sex with you anyway. We were…

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