A woman tells of an "innocent" run-in which quickly left a sour taste in her mouth:
On Sunday evening there was an issue at home and we had to get someone to come in and fix it.
After the man quickly sorted it out we started chatting and he brought up how terrible the country is at the moment with the violence against women. I nodded and didn't say anything because, to be honest, after last week, I just didn't have it in me to engage with this at that point.
He then continues to say "how these young women dress with their mini skirts and short dresses and that his workers have come to him to say these women must realise they can see everything when they sit on steps or walk around".
I said "perhaps your workers need to check themselves and how they are thinking and there wouldn't be any issues".
"Ya ya", he says, "we've had some workshops" and then continues as though I hadn't really said anything at all. "Ya you see these women get drunk fall around all over the place and don't realise we were created a certain way and can't help but look."
I honestly wanted to throw up. I wanted to fight him, I wanted him to listen and understand, I wanted him to check himself and then continue to check everyone else around him.
But I had no fight left in me, I was so tired of trying to educate and get through to people that I just did not have the energy at that point for this man.
More so, I just wanted him out my house as soon as possible.
So now, men [and some women] on my timeline are thinking to themselves "yes but not all men because I haven't". I am confident (but then again, I could be wrong), that the man in my house last night had never raped, murdered or kidnapped a woman. BUT, his words and thoughts are VIOLENT.
He is a supervisor of many young men who perpetuate this kind of violence through their words and thoughts, he enables it and contributes to it and together they enforce a culture that allows for blaming women, for violence against women and the dehumanization of women.
Violence is not always physical. Words have meaning and when validated they have power. All of you, together, continuously validate and give power to these thoughts every time you agree with it and do not question it. I plead with you to check, re-check, yourselves and those around you.
Men, this is not our fight. It is YOURS. You have got to change, individually and collectively.
* The name of the author has been withheld upon her request.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.