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Where Can We Be Safe? Where Can We Be Free?

Written by Nomsa Motale

My eyes feel heavy, I keep thinking that maybe I did not get enough sleep. Maybe I am exhausted, maybe I just need to stop thinking too much. Maybe this, maybe that. No-matter how many maybe’s I flip through, it does not change the fact that my eyes still feel heavy. Every-time I blink, a tear falls onto my lap, creating a pool of what if’s.

I keep thinking that if I go back into a state of mind that could unlock or change this, I really would. At that moment, I think of a song, a song that created a hole in my soul, because it reminds me of the time when a woman was abused by her spouse and how it was splashed all across different media platforms. I wonder what she went through everytime she looked in the mirror and she was reminded of this tragedy. The lyrics start playing “And you can see my heart beating, you can see it through my chest. Said I’m terrified but I’m not leaving, I know I must pass this test, so just pull the trigger!’ as I listen to these lyrics by Rihanna, I go into a place in my heart of wondering how many women have felt this way

How many women have felt this way, before they got raped. How many women felt this way, when they wondered if it was safe enough to walk to the store after hours, or when they were driving alone in a car, terrified, how many of them wondered if someone will attack, hurt and take their lives?

It’s strange how we are often scared of people we have never met, the ones who are in our circles, the ones close to us, we never think we could be unsafe or feel threatened around them. You think of your boyfriend as someone who loves and cares about you, you never actually think what if one-day he decides to own me, and thinks that he can take away my life.

Social media has been buzzing with images of young women who have been going missing and today we found out that a capable young  beautiful woman by the name of Karabo, has passed away.

The way she has passed away is not only tragic but heartbreaking. It stirs a lot of emotions such as anger, apathy for the way this society fails women daily and the pain of how many stories like this have happened and have never been told. For the women who stay, thinking he will change, for the rape cases that were never reported because of various reasons,the men who have gotten away with abuse because it’s been silenced.

Men are trash! I’m sure you have seen this hashtag all over social media, right now I am writing this with the notion that how long will it take for men to not think they own our bodies, our lives! When will men understand that we are not to blame for their emotions and when will men understand that they continue to fail us daily.

They fail us when they look away when a woman is sexually harassed by their peer, they fail use when they refuse to have conversations about rape and domestic violence among their circles, they fail use when they claim to love us but end up taking our lives, so if you are one of the men who roll their eyes at #MenAreTrash, you are also part of the problem. Instead of evaluating and finding out how as men you can have conversations and solutions about issues of gender violence, the obssession with ownership over another body and why women do not feel safe.

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This is a topic, issue we cannot look away from, especially when we have constant anxiety whenever we log onto social media and wonder which next woman is going to appear missing, then announced dead at the next moment. We cannot stop talking about this because at this very moment there is someone who is being abused and might be killed.

Let us understand that our society has a long way to go and as soon as we start facing such issues and talking and coming up with ways of dealing with all this, as soon as men start taking accountability, only then can we have a way forward!

Written by Nomsa Motale