Vanessa Govender. File picture
Durban - JUST a few months ago, a young Chatsworth woman was bludgeoned to death in her home.

Her killer - her lover - later killed himself. Demisha Naik had become another gruesome South African statistic.

Why did he do it? Many asked. A question that almost sought to exonerate the killer, when we aim to understand why any man thinks it is okay to treat women as possessions.

When we ask why did he beat you up or why did he murder her?

It got me thinking, we are all too busy focusing on girls and teaching them to look for the warning signs, much to the detriment of boys, who are growing up to become entitled monsters - who maim and kill.

The rules of engagement are quite simple and it’s high time boys and men were schooled on it.

* The date

First, taking a girl/woman out on a date or paying the bill for the meal is not an automatic invitation to sexual intimacy.

It does not entitle you to her body and neither does it, in any way, mean she is now in a committed relationship to you. A woman may choose to be intimate with you but understand that, however many times she is intimate with you, it is in no way a promise or guarantee of never-ending sex on demand for you.

And neither is a girlfriend or a wife for that matter.

We are not orifices for your sexual gratification. We may choose to be your partner but that does not entitle you to our bodies - as and when you please. If you are unsure if she wants to have sex or not, ask! If she says no, then she means NO.

* Dress code

A short skirt, shorts, tights, crop tops - nothing of what a woman chooses to wear is permission for you to grope her, accost her or rape her.

Some guys may have trouble making sense of this conundrum.

I mean: “If she is dressed up provocatively, she surely is asking for it, right?” Again, our bodies are not for your taking and pleasure. It belongs to us, to adorn as we desire and to share as we desire.

* Self-control

If you are incapable of conducting an argument or discussion without flying into a rage and assaulting your wife or girlfriend, then you have not “won” the argument. Neither have you “put her in her place”.

All you have done is shown yourself to be weak and not a man at all. How about you admit you have a problem and get help for it?

Striking a woman is not a sign of power or masculinity. It is only the action of a human being, who feels so utterly worthless that he needs to use violence to exert himself and dominate.

* Possessions:

Jealousy and possessiveness are not a “turn on”, neither do we find it cute. It is, in fact, cause for concern. Here are a few warning signs:

* You tell her what to wear

* Check her phone

* Check her whereabouts when you are not together

* Getting angry if she talks to other males and even assaults her for it.

If you display any of these signs or have any of those feelings, then seek help urgently.

* Money cannot buy love:

Spending money on a woman is not “investing” in her. She is not a stock or bond. She is a person. And it is your choice to do that.

Her accepting you spending money on her is also a choice and is by no means a binding contract on either of you to the other. These are the finer details that are best ironed out and best not assumed.

* Sex shaming:

Sex shaming a partner who has left you, sharing intimate images that you may or may not have procured with her consent, calling a woman demeaning names because she has called time out on your relationship or ended it, does not reflect badly on her. On the contrary, it speaks volumes about the calibre of the man you are not. Plus, it is a criminal offence, so I rest my case on this one.

* Deal with it:

Now this one is important. If your girlfriend or wife decides she is no longer capable of being in a relationship with you for whatever reason - it happens. It may hurt your male ego, but it happens.

Putting a gun against her head and pulling the trigger or beating her up is not the solution to saving the relationship or your wounded pride. It’s murder and it makes you a killer.

We all enter relationships with the hope of it being the stuff that poets write about, but it does not always pan out that way.

A woman has the right to walk away if a relationship no longer adds to her, without fear of losing her life, just as you have the right to also call it quits.

Maybe you can draw comfort from this - many men have been through failed relationships, endured the heartbreak, picked up the pieces, moved on and are living happy lives.

And they did not have to kill or beat up their partners.

Think about that the next time you are vacillating between forcing yourself onto a woman or assaulting her.

Govender is a full-time mom and author of the children’s book, “The Selfish Shongololo” and the explosive memoir Beaten But Not Broken”. She is a former award-winning eTV television and SABC radio news reporter. Follow her on her social media handles - on her Facebook author page, @VanessaGovenderTedder, and on Twitter, @Govender_V

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