Any form of abuse is a difficult subject to discuss. Whether physical, sexual, financial or emotional, dealing with it is daunting, hence there are many incidents that end up not being reported because the survivors are too afraid to speak up.
Movements like #DontLookAway, #MeToo, and #HearMeToo have helped break the silence.
In recent years, we’ve witnessed women in the entertainment industry from across the globe open up about their sexual harassment encounters in the hope of getting more women to speak up against sexual crimes.
Musician Busisiwe “Cici” Thwala has been vocal about her abuse at the hands of her former kwaito star and music producer boyfriend, Arthur Mafokate.
Thwala, and other celebs, in partnership with Black Brain Pictures and the Gauteng Department of Community Safety, have added their voice to the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence - a platform created to raise awareness in the fight against the abuse of women and children.
Thwala, who has laid assault charges against her former lover, told the court during the trial that Mafokate had allegedly abused her sexually, emotionally and financially.
Asked how she planned to use her voice as an artist to effect change, Thwala said: “I advocate a lot against violence through my music. I have been vocal about my experience of abuse in order to encourage others to stand for their truth.
To help them understand that knowing your worth is important and understanding what love is and what love isn’t.”
Thwala urged women to speak up and defend themselves.
“Women need to report their incidents and, once they have done so, they need to follow through. They must be willing to fight for themselves because no one will do it for them.”
Thwala said her mother had had the biggest impact on her life, teaching her about self-worth and self-love.
“Had it not been for her love and support, I would have dropped the charges because, at times, it all became too much to bear.
“Another woman who inspires me is (actress and voice artist) Rosie Motene, who does a phenomenal job in advocating against abuse.”
Radio personality and former YoTV presenter Hulisani Ravele and singer and Lockdown star Nelisiwe Sibiya join Thwala in the fight against gender-based violence.
Ravele said it would take the creation and implementation of a multipronged approach to finally stop women abuse.
“One that not only looks at the severity of punishment for perpetrators and the enforcement thereof. I believe in the saying ‘hurt people hurt others’, so not addressing the emotional root and causes of the actions is futile because then the cycle will continue.”
Ravele has made emotional abuse her focus.
“Through this campaign, I speak up in particular for the women who are being emotionally abused.
“My hope is that women, young and old, understand that emotional abuse is real. They shouldn’t feel that just because they don’t have physical bruises, their abuse is not seen or doesn’t matter.”
Sibiya aims to use her music to inspire more women to speak up.
“I plan to be a voice of the voiceless, to speak for women who do not have the courage to speak up against this demon, which is abuse.”
Sibiya said young women could achieve a lot if they could learn to believe in and appreciate themselves.
She urged women to speak up if they were being abused. “Silence is never golden when it comes to abuse.”