Thu Dec 08 16:23:07 CAT 2016

Month's tribute to women sours as grannies brutalised

The Times Editorial | 2012-08-01 00:13:45.0

The Times Editorial: Two events in the small village of Swayimane, in KwaZulu-Natal, over the past week are immensely tragic. But what is horrific is that the events - the rape of two elderly women - are not isolated incidents.

The attack on two women by security guards in Johannesburg, who objected to the couple kissing in public, must be seen in the same light.

As we begin Women's Month today, the brutalisation of women is thrown into stark focus.

We are asked to honour women but it appears that we should instead be mourning the lack of progress in the realisation of their constitutionally guaranteed rights .

It is difficult to begin to find extenuating circumstances for the brutal rape of an 82-year-old great-grandmother.

But, as has been said repeatedly, South African society is built largely on deeply entrenched patriarchal patterns and norms.

In most of our communities, women are still secondary citizens, the possessions of men and subjugated to what are deemed to be acceptable cultural values.

Almost two decades after apartheid ended and the introduction of a progressive constitution, and legislation that demands equality for women, it is clear that women are still very much the vulnerable sex in South Africa.

The proof lies in the damning statistics that testify to the prevalence of gender-based violence, which includes "new" ways of dealing with women, such as the "corrective rape" of lesbians.

South Africa, and, indeed, the world, might celebrate women in perpetuity each August - but it will always be a shallow tribute.

A public holiday in honour of women does not even begin to address the massive societal problem in this country.

A fundamental shift in thinking and attitude would be a good place to start. But who will lead this essential revolution?

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