Forget the Boogeyman, the Face of Gender-Based Violence Is A Familiar Face in Your Church, Office, School and Bed!
By Musa Mdunge
It has been a minute since I last wrote an opinion piece. Until the events of the past two weeks, I have not had the strength or mental resolve to speak to the matters that are impacting South Africa and the greater continent. However, like all of you, I too have seen the worrying stories of kidnaping, rape and murder exerted against children and women in South Africa.
The rise of the #AmINext movement comes at a time when the culture of violence finds itself in every aby of so-called safe spaces such as the post office or institutions of learning. The days when this violence could only be attributed to dungeon, clubs and dark streets is over. Today the violence against children and women meets them at day light. It exerts itself in places of worship and it is no longer the face of some strange boogeyman but the familiar face of a friend, boyfriend, brother, uncle, father, Pastor, public servant and even a policeman.
So, rightfully so, women across the landscape of our country have made known their anger, fear and fatigue at a nation of men unwilling to interrogate their own inner demons, toxic masculinity and capacity to be the next rapist, kidnapper, abuser and murderer!
So, at the end of the day, we stand shocked and filled with disgust at the events shaping our country and we are quick to rush to twitter and Facebook to show our allegiance to every woman. However, perhaps there is a deeper action we must undertake.
That action I would like to deposit begins by admitting to ourselves that we all have the capacity for evil and secondly, we must deal with our demons and toxic views that we hold as fundamental truths that shape the prism by which we have all knowingly and unknowingly objectified women.
Until we can sit and bask in the truth of our tainted beings in the mirror, no amount of #NotInMyName will help!
Moreover, before we can speak about holding each other to account, are we holding ourselves to account and are we willing to do the work of self-correction or are we ok with upholding toxic views as long as it is means we are not the next guy on blast via twitter facing allegations of rape?
So, in being slow to run to the buzzer of social media in an attempt to show face and present public view of being on the right side of history, I choose to deal with every thought, conclusion and demon that makes me the next potential rapist-in-waiting and abuser-in-waiting!
This is a difficult task to undertake and one that will require the resolve be bear and vulnerable but this I argue is a small price to pay in the bid to make the world of every, lover, sister, colleague, friend, congregant and women safer when they come into contact with me either in the church, mall, post office, club and street.
I implore every man to do the same and together we can again redeem the image of the man. Now more than ever before, we have been called to take a stand and it begins with each man putting in the individual work of redemption!