After a missing person search for 26 year old Aviwe Jam Jam, news reports stated that her body had been found in a field in Khayelitsha. It seems like it’s one story after another lately, but after the nation mourned the brutal death of Karabo Mokoena, allegedly at the hands of her boyfriend (Sandile Mantsoe), the media have finally opened the hypothetical lid on a can of worms South Africa can no longer pretend doesn’t exist.
There is a growing awareness of the necessity of reporting cases like these, of domestic violence and physical and sexual assault. News outlets are no longer brushing these stories under the carpet as one of many- although they are. The more we hear, the angrier we get- as a country. Something long overdue when looking at the shocking statistics:
- 1 WOMAN WILL BE THE VICTIM OF FEMICIDE EVERY 8 HOURS according to Minister of arts and culture, Nathi Mthethwa.
- OVER 30 000 CASES OF RAPE ARE OPENED EVERY 6 MONTHS, with 110 rape cases per day. *
- 1 IN 5 WOMEN WILL BE DOMESTICALLY ABUSED, and it becomes more likely if a woman is economically disadvantaged (24.4% compared to 13% in top earning househoulds), confirms The Daily Maverick.
South Africa is a terrifying place for a woman to be.
It is time to wake up, bystanders of SA. Violence and sexual assault against women is not an abstract concept but a very REAL issue and reality for most women in SA. And it’s not happening to other women, it’s happening next door. It’s happening to someone you know.
In honour of Womens Month we will list 4 headlines (thus far) in August, in the hopes of valuably contributing to this conversation and cause.
1. AVIWE JAM JAM’S BODY IS FOUND
In July Aviwe told her mother she was fleeing to Pretoria from her long-term boyfriend, and the father of her child. Aviwe was popular and when missing persons posters showed up on social media, they were quickly spread- only for it to be reported that Aviwe had been found dead, at the Vygieskraal Stadium, Athlone- 24km from her home.
According to News24, her boyfriend “was arrested .. and is being investigated in connection with her murder”.
This week, a video surfaced on Twitter of a female learner being beaten by a male learner at Siyathuthuka Secondary School in Inanda, north of Durban.
Although the incident occurred in November 2016, nothing has been done by the SAPS or school officials to condemn the incident. According to News 24, “the single father said he went to a local police station in the area, but police were not willing to open a case for his daughter.”
It is only now that the video has received media attention that the learner’s father may finally be heard so that the male learner can finally be punished.
Spokesperson of Section 27, Ntsiki Mpulo, has encouraged a call for action on justice for this incident, saying “This is abnormal and we need to take a long, hard look at ourselves as a society and country and figure out what role we play in bringing up boys who think that violence against women is acceptable. It is not.”
3. TEEN BULLIED AFTER SEXUAL ASSAULT
A 14 year old female student and her mother are seeking legal action after the girl was sexually assaulted and then bullied at school by her assaulter, being called insults like “leftover”.
The girl attended a dance with the male student and once there, the male student forced himself on her, he “grabbed her thighs and forcefully kissed her in front of other pupils.” After she rejected his advances him and his friends proceeded to actively bully her.
According to IOL, “The girl’s mother .. had repeatedly complained to the school authorities, including the principal, but he had allegedly told her it was a personal matter and had nothing to do with the school.”
4. DEPUTY MINISTER ASSAULTS WOMEN IN CLUB
What seems to be most highlighted in the past 2 weeks’ headlines is perhaps the attitude of acceptance and normality that is carried out by bystanders present and authorities. However, these cases are not overseen once made public. An uplifting aspect is the public backlash that results, as is most apparent regarding Higher Education and Training Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana’s assault case.
Manana apologized after a video emerged on social media of him assaulting 2 women at Cubana in Fourways (06/08/2017).
At a media briefing, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula condemned Manana’s actions. Understandably, the public is awaiting actions on the government’s part. Numsa spokesperson, Phakamile Hlubi rejected the apology saying, “Sadly, the behaviour of the deputy minister is a reflection of this deep problem that afflicts our society. As a man who occupies a position of power, into which a lot of public trust is vested, he should have done better.”
*cases reported between April-December 2016
Words: Zoya Pon
Feature image: Aviwe Jam Jam via Twitter