Sex-Based Gender Violence in South Africa is directly linked to HIV/AIDS Prevalence.

Gender-based violence in South Africa is an age-old problem. The paternalistic mindset that oppresses women has been carried forward by a combination of outdated traditions, religion, and cultural practices.

Women suffer a great deal in the hands of men who are bound by misogynistic beliefs and this, in turn, has led to a higher HIV AIDS prevalence. Rape culture and misguided beliefs keep women enslaved to a society that is making the HIV pandemic spiral out of control.

Rape culture

Yet another factor that has led to, and increased the spread of HIV is the deep-rooted rape culture in SA. The police approximate that a woman is raped every thirty-six seconds in South Africa. About thirteen percent of the South African population comprises HIV positive individuals. That translates to about 7.5 million individuals living with HIV/AIDS.

A survey in western cape revealed that at least 15% of the male population had forced a woman that wasn’t their partner into sex. The same study revealed that in Gauteng, the number was 37.4%. To add insult to injury, more than half of the individuals questioned in the survey that admitted to having raped had done it more than one time.

The large majority of rapists are often HIV positive individuals looking to spread the disease on purpose. One such man gave a chilling confession in a BBC documentary simply dubbed ‘My Neighbor the Rapist’.

 In his confession, he described how he cannot go for three days without ‘taking a woman’ and how this makes him feel powerful. He was clearly turned on by the idea of striking fear in the hearts of women and took great pride in the fact that he was not going to ‘die alone’ with HIV/AIDS.

Virgin Cleansing

Young girls (from as young as months old) have also become the target of HIV positive men who believe that sex with a young virgin child will cure them of HIV/AIDS. This misinformation has led to an increase in ‘virgin cleansing’, where HIV positive men target and sexually abuse young girls within the family.

One traditional ‘doctor’ shamelessly spoke in Infront of the cameras in the same BBC documentary describing how he advises men to look for young girls between the ages of 12 and 14 years old within the family. He advises that these men should have sex with these young girls at least five to eight times to completely rid themselves of HIV.

Wife Battering

A lot of men in South Africa especially in the poorer and more rural communities still practice wife battering. Whether they do it with the intention of correcting or out of sheer disdain and disrespect, wife battering renders many women voiceless.

It is difficult for a woman in this type of situation to speak up about safety matters such as the use of protection or getting tested. On the rare occasion that they do, it leads to further oppression as many men get offended by this conversation.

This means that these women (even if they find that they are already infected) might be unable to get proper health care. This oppression of women means that they cannot do anything without their spouses’ approval. Healthcare for women in such situations is more often than not completely out of the question.

These are the undercurrents of a society in affliction. The HIV pandemic has led many people to grasp at straws and opt for all options out there. The result is what is happening to women in South Africa. Gender-based violence is leading to and increasing the percentage of HIV/AIDS infection across the nation.

We Want Feminism, But We Want Healing Families More.

In 1851 Sojourner Truth said, “If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together, ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!”. Feminine strength is rooted in the exact femininity some of us have tried to escape in the effort to attain success for ourselves and our communities.

In any case, I hiked up to the top of Table Mountain with friends of mine whom I met literally 2 mins before we began to climb. It was glorious. I was with a group of vibrant young beautiful African women, telling stories from their homes in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Nigeria. All of the ladies were graduates studying their Master’s Degrees in one thing or another, mostly on prestigious Scholarships, I myself, having just entered a new Industry in a new Province, traveling around while trying to keep one ear attentively listening in on Africa’s development pulse.

On our way up the mountain, we sang songs, cheered each other on, discussed men and honesty, family, success and it’s cost. On our way down the mountain we were louder, funnier, faster, more patient with one another, we analyzed our surroundings and conversed with those around us.

Despite the challenges facing us as young black women across the continent, we are the most resilient of Africa’s population. We are often called the most vulnerable, but resilient is a stronger truth. Not only this, but we are often raising our siblings and taking our own peers under our wings. Poet Rupi Kaur writes, “you could be a water and soft river your way to freedom…”. I believe this describes the works and interests of Young African Women across the continent and the diaspora who have continued to work towards brighter futures through empowering their family systems despite opposition to their ideas. Sending the little they have a home.

We want feminism but we want healed families more. You hear it in our conversations about Feminism and You see it in the things we fight for. Young Women want communities they know their children will be protected and empowered in. Young Women were not in Fees Must Fall simply because Fees had to fall but because the Generations they will birth deserve access to education.

In the exploration of African thought, philosophy, methodology, ideology, etc., it is of paramount importance that we raise the real issues facing our society. For the purpose of self-discovery, we are to priorities defining for ourselves; what it means to be an African and what Africa needs to do next in order to compete and thrive.

One of the concepts we often discuss is Feminism, hence this article. We often discuss Feminism as if its application only has implications on how women are treated by men and “the system”. We also consider Feminism outside of Femininity as if Gender lines are in fact ok to blur, they are not. Why? Our bodily functions do not allow it.

This is the Feminism I say can only be considered last in line to the importance of the African Family; the Family comes first to all other structures. The Family is where we learn Loyalty, Cooperation, Productivity, Communication, and many other highly critical aspects which help us to mold our Identity.

A majority of Africans born in the 70s, 80s, and 90s grew up in the midst of challenges created by the breakdown and restructuring of the African family. Black Consciousness urges us to look again at Family values because the battle is in fact won where the soldier trains, eats and sleeps; only the trophy is fetched out in the streets.

We want Feminism, but We Want Healing Families More.

The effrontery of patriarchy

You are too angry” There is everything wrong with this statement. Telling a woman to stop being too angry is not a solution to the problems women experience because of how the patriarchy is set up.

Women are constantly reminded to tone down their anger by men who fail to understand that they are talking from a point of privilege. No one has ever policed a man’s words and told them to keep quiet. Why? PATRIARCHY!!

It is the reason why you here foolishness being peddled around in statements such as “women are meant to be seen not to be heard.” What in the patriarchal whangdoodle is that?

How and why should I not be angry yet every single time I walk out the door, I have a mini panic attack because I am scared. I am frightened of how the males will receive me out there. When I walk out of the house and hit the streets, I cannot stop thinking I am being followed. Followed by an entitled douchebag who feels entitled to my body and personal space.

The beast commonly known as the patriarchy defends such motherlovers!! Imagine walking out of your house, dressed in a long skirt, a blouse that covers up everything up to your chin, and in addition, you have on a big coat because of how the weather has been behaving.

Despite all these attempts to be ‘decent’ and I use this term loosely, there is still a sick son of a gun that will grope you, molest you, hell even rape you. Then guess what happens? You still get blamed for all he has done.

You are reminded that you should not have been alone with a man you don’t know. Yet you did not invite this person to be around you. They tell you that you should have at least responded when you were greeted because your failure to reply is what provoked the man to get violent with you. You also hear about how much of a liar you are because a man of such great reputation and stature could never do something like that. You are only trying to ruin him because he dumped you or some other absurd excuse to make him look like the victim.

Just imagine living in a world where you cannot go out by yourself, enjoy a drink you bought with your own money and go back to your house without anyone disturbing your peace.

It is almost impossible. Right from when you walk into a bar, the woes begin. Some high-end bars and restaurants even prohibit women who are unaccompanied from accessing their facilities. They are prejudiced because they have the unfortunate notion that a single woman does not have the money to afford such places.

You are supposed to be with a man. Why? Because when you are alone, you are presumably a hooker hunting for a rich man in the hotel to wine and dine you. Their male patrons do not want to look like they do not want to see such women but secretly check in with them at their hotels, so they insist that any woman without male company should not be admitted there.

Just imagine the effrontery of the male species!! When you manage to find an unbiased bar or restaurant, these ones will not stop hovering around you like vultures circling a carcass. Every two seconds a Neanderthal in a suit and dangling car keys to enticing you will approach and ask to join you because a beautiful woman like you should not be drinking alone.

Why can’t a beautiful woman sit and enjoy her drink alone? You will say no you don’t want company but what is an entitlement? They will be like, “I insist.” Insist why, mofo? Which part of NO don’t these people understand? It is only two syllables and clear enough for even a sloth to understand. These entitled turds will just not stop because they have been programmed to think women belong to them and every time they want to be with one, the answer should be AN unquestionable YES.

Fast forward to when you have managed to have your drink. You decide to leave. Guess who has been lurking around behind the shadows waiting for you to get wasted so they can exercise their ‘right’ of manhood on you. Thinking about it makes me want to gag. You said no when you were sober.

You are still saying NO when drunk but now because your guard is down, a nincompoop wants to take advantage because somehow your answer magically transformed to yes because a few shots of gin and tonic happened. Outside, as you wait for your taxi, the same person you turned down inside will want to stand with you talking nonsense, insisting on meaningless conversation incessantly asking for your number

. At this point, they have also downed a few of whatever choice of poison they were having and how they feel rather bold. An insult will be hurled, harsh words will be exchanged, a slap will land, then a punch, then full-blown war. All this because a person could not take no. You might even wake up the following morning to a blog post about a drunk girl who was beaten senseless because a man had bought her drinks then she refused to go home with me.

The lies!!! Just think of how cheap women are in the eyes of the patriarchy!! A few drinks and you should be dropping your knickers.

I cannot imagine the things women endure in this world that hates women so much. I know for a fact that every woman walking this planet has experienced the fuckery that accompanies the authority handed over to men at birth because of their genitalia. I want to live in a world where I am not terrified because a person feels entitled to my body. I want the patriarchy stomped out. I join women with a similar ambition because together we can eliminate this beast and make the world safer for ourselves and the women that will come after us. I should not even be fighting to be treated like a human being but the patriarchy happened and got us here. Now I have to struggle for my own rights and nobody will fight for me if I do not do it myself.