To be a woman in South Africa is to constantly be fearful for your own life, and be on the look out for possible and potential danger.
The situation in the country has deteriorated to such levels where it has become possible to say that our bodies as women have become crime scenes that are waiting to happen at any given moment and time.
It’s a frightening realisation to arrive at.
This reality, compounded by the government’s failure to alleviate this real plight against women, is leading to a silent festering of a mental health crisis among the women of South Africa.
Conditions such as paranoia and anxiety have seen an increase in recent weeks, as many women have been forced to put up with their abusers in adherence to the Covid-19 lockdown regulations.
With nowhere to go, most women find themselves having to stay with their abusers, on whom most depend on for shelter, food and other forms of sustenance.
The government of South Africa is seriously failing its women.
They have failed to provide alternative safe housing for women who find themselves in potentially violent situations during the lockdown. The government is not doing enough to ensure that there is domestic peace and stability in our societies, especially during this unprecedented lockdown.
Existing social initiatives created by government to address the scourge of gender based violence in our societies remain impotent since they no longer receive government funding and attention.
At face level, the government seems apathetic to the ongoing femicide in South Africa.
Due to the month of August being women’s month, we shall see another wave of preformative gestures of ally-ship and solidarity with women who have been victims of GBV.
Men will buy flowers, organise dinners and so on; they will sing praises to women this month, but will not take time to gather amongst themselves to interrogate their behaviours and to seek healing in order to facilitate a peaceful coexistence with women.
Why are men afraid of digging deep inside themselves to confront the real reasons why they speak through violence? Instead of reaching into their pockets to impress women, men need to appeal to their own consciences in order to properly shape their approach towards women.
This will go a long way in showing respect and bringing comfort to women, much more than flowers can.