This is going to get heavy folks, so if you want to enjoy Woman’s Day as if it were any other fun-filled public holiday, please ignore this and enjoy the rest of your break.
#RememberKhwezi dominates today’s headlines, and has reminded me that today should be more than just another day that we get to sleep in. I’m penning this as someone who has seen violence against women first hand for far too much of my life. Growing up, when I did see it happening, I thought it was the exception, rather than the rule. But as I got older, as I started paying more attention to the women who spent time with me, the more it became terrifyingly obvious to me that this is not something that happens in isolation. This is, without a doubt, one of society’s dirtiest secrets, yet we carry on, pretending to be oblivious to the elephant in the room.
How do I know that this is an elephant? How do I know that it is not a mouse? It’s quite simple really. As I got older, I did one thing: I listened. Some women in my life, barely able to control their pain and tears, have told me very clearly about the horrors that they’d been through. Some women in my life spoke so strongly when the issue came up, that it was obvious that it was more than just a woman speaking out on behalf of those who could not. Some women in my life share videos and articles on Facebook, and while they may not raise their voices and scream, you know the issue undoubtedly hits painfully close to home for them.
So here I am, a painful little reminder, that today is Woman’s Day in South Africa, and that while you should #RememberKhwezi, you should also #RememberYourMother, #RememberYourSister, #RememberYourWife, #RememberYourGirlfriend, #RememberYourCousin, and #RememberYourFriend. #RememberWomen and the things that too many of them have to face.