Welcome to the College of Transfiguration, NPC - a provincial centre for the training of Anglican clergy.

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN

Friday, 02 June 2017 
 
Violence against women and children is going side by side with the technological improvement in our time. We see images of violence on social media: facebook, tweeter; on TV shows, in the news, in the movies, in our homes and communities. Women from all ages, races and classes, are victims of humiliation, exploitation and torture by the men. This violence against women is one of the least prosecuted crimes and one of the greatest threats to lasting peace and development. It is the ultimate abuse of power. 
 
One of the key characteristics of power is the ability to go unexamined and lacking introspection. The abuse of power is rendered invisible in issues that are primarily about us, even in the theological discourse. It very easy to erase a man as a central subject from the conversation about violence against women. The way that we think and use our language is biased into keeping our attention to man. It takes our attention away from the dominant group, let alone challenging the dominant to think about their dominance. 
 
Violence against women is woven into the fabric of society in such a way that many of the victims feel that it was their fault. I believe that ‘victim-blaming’ messages makes the perpetrators of violence feel justified and that some forms of violence are acceptable in a society. If we can sit here and ask questions about the victims of violence, it will never get us anywhere in terms of preventing violence against women and children. We need to interrogate and problematise not about the victims but about the perpetrators, about us, about men, about our societies. 
 
We need to look at the real, at the root causes. Why in over 20 years into democracy, violence against women and children, is still a big problem? What is going on? Why so many men abuse physically, emotionally, verbally those whom they claim to love? We need to take a closer look at societal institutions that keep on producing abusive men. The family structures, the religious beliefs, the social systems, the economic system, the sports culture, etc. Many women and children continue to suffer, enduring pain in the name or under the guise of culture and religion. There has never been a religious or cultural justification for inhumanity. We need more people who are going stand up and speak out against this virus that keeps on destroying the moral character of our societies. 
 
It is not easy to challenge a societal system that has been in place for years and years because one will be challenging power. In our methodology we need make connections and talk about how we can change the socialization of boys and the definition of man. The same system that produces men who abuse women is the same system that produces men who are abuse other man; and women who abuse other women and other men. We need not to see this as a binary fashion, this gender vs that gender. Violence against women and children is an issue of human rights. Freedom from fear of violence is a basic human right. To intervene is a basic moral obligation for every human being. We need to transcend our boundaries, our religious concerns, and cultural differences. One may not be directly involved in a dyad of abuse but we all affected as social beings.  
 
In a community like this where do we begin, how do we speak out? How do we not remain silent in the face of injustice? It begins here, when someone says something that is sexist or degrading instead of laughing along or pretending you didn't hear anything, one needs to stand up and speak out and say that is not funny. This is my sister, or this is my brother that you talking about. In malicious gossips we need to stand up and speak out. If I'm sitting at Freedom Square with other Zulu's and then one makes bad comment about a Xhosa, if I keep quiet my silence means consent. I need to stand up and speak out. Martin Luther once said, “in the end what hurt the most is not words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.” 
 
There has been a lot of silence in male culture about this ongoing tragedy of violence against women and children. It is not easy in male culture to challenge another male when it comes to the issue of women abuse. Quiet frankly, it is not easy to intervene in someone’s personal affairs. There are so many men who care deeply about violence against women and children, but caring deeply is not enough, we need courage and moral integrity to break the silence. We need to stand with and not against women and children and break the silence. We need to stand up and speak out until more and more are brave enough to step forward to break the silence. We owe this to our young brothers, to our sons, who are growing in societal cultures that do not give them a choice but dictates how to live and behave. 
 
We can do it we can break the silence. 
 

Sizwe Ngcobo
Ordinand


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