If you here for joy, skip to the end because this is another hectic report. There has been a ton of tongue wagging this week about gender-based violence, #GBV. Largely because we had a holiday for women. #WomensDay. We took a break from work, but the rapes and the beatings and the abuse and the sorrow and the death did not take a break. We celebrated women’s struggle during apartheid and, while they certainly deserve praise, how does it compare to women today? Journalists say that one should humanize these stories. These monstrous stories that crawl across thousands and thousands of people. Stories so huge, that in order to remove “desensitization” we should “humanize” them. Let #TannieBoksburg understand the real story. Mmh, #AreYouSure you want me to humanize this story? #CAS6372022
Let’s scratch the battered surface with Acumen Media by getting very personal with a very brave woman that I work with every day. Acumen is a team of women, strong, powerful, hardworking women. Between us, we support our families. Yet, too many amongst our small powerful team have had relationships that they’d rather not discuss. Unspeakable things done that cannot be shared. My point is out of a small group of women the majority have been hurt, hurt beyond measure, by patriarchal and heavy-handed men. #WomensDay #AreYouSure? #CAS6372022
#CAS6372022, it’s a number, a case number, the case number for assault, a case number to address the fact that our friend was beaten badly by her ex. This beating is not the first time, it is the reason she left a long time ago, this beating took place because of a visit to her son. Gogo was taking care of him. The mother of the baby daddy; she’s not a young woman; she’s a granny and her son is a woman beater. Short story: #BabyDaddy walks in and doesn’t like what he hears. Next, he starts climbing into his mom, screaming at her and then hitting her. His mother! The woman who birthed him. My friend couldn’t watch it happen so she stood between them, and that was how we now have a number #CAS6372022. He hit her so hard she fell to the ground and he didn’t stop there. She is not his wife; she does not even live with him; she left him, but she wants to see her kid. He hit his mother and the mother of his child. #CAS6372022.
That’s not my story… #AreYouSure? Yes, I’m sure.
My brave friend had had enough, no more, this was the last time and she wanted her son back. She went straight to the police station. She was sobbing; she was terrified; she was furious and she was looking for justice in the right place. #AreYouSure? When she retold her story to a policewoman, she made it clear that she wanted to lay an immediate charge of assault and that the cops should come and arrest him right now while he was still in the same house as that Gogo. Hurry up! The policewoman took her into the back office, made her a cup of tea, told her to calm down and asked her: “Are you sure Sisi, maybe you’ll be back with him again soon?” #AreYouSure!
She was told that she would have to go and get a medical report signed by a doctor, and that this should have been done before she even came to the police station. And that the doctor would have to testify in court, but that they generally are a no-show so she must make sure she gets a doctor who would come to court! #AreYouSure? She was told that she could get a protection order OR lay a charge of assault, but she couldn’t do both. She then asked why on earth she couldn’t get both and she was fobbed off and told to go and get her medical report. This is #Actonville police station by the way. Just in case you think she’s scared to name and shame. She’s not. She’s a rock. Wathinta Bafazi Watinta umbogoti!
She took her bruised body to a GP because she is one of the luckier women that has access to a GP. But many women have to go to a clinic or a hospital. Do you know what happens to black eyes and broken ribs in our government clinics or hospitals? You wait for days, literally days, to be seen. Ask me why. Why? Because “gunshot wounds first”. I’ve been there and no one can blame them and it is a fair point. Gunshot wounds first, indeed. Many other women would have given up already, dragged their weary bodies back home or to a safe place. Our friend though, #CAS6372022, asked the GP straight up if he would come to court, and he would, but … there’s that but, #AreYouSure? The GP explained that doctors working in clinics or private practices have no time to waste on a failing court system. They are brought to court and then there’s either a postponement or someone doesn’t turn up or … Insert reason here ………. And people are left sick at their offices unattended. #AreYouSure?
From there back to the police station and this time she was told that she had to go to court and get papers for the restraining order (no case number yet, see, no charge, no docket #CAS6372022). Following the procedure, my friend does as she is told. Gets to court and four hours later they give her the papers to fill in, but now she is told that she can only file them the following day. She then asks why she cannot do it the same day? No response from the peanut gallery. #AreYouSure? This is a true story. Back home and more time lost. The next day, with an aching body and a determined spirit, she went back and filed for the restraining order. She got it and went back to the cops. The cops began to realise that this one is sure. She’s not just going to go home, not this one, this one needs to really be told. And in no uncertain terms. So get this … They take her, in a police van, to the premises of the perpetrator (against who she now has a restraining order) and they make her walk up to the door and stand there as the cops serve the notice on someone else in the house because the toe rag wasn’t home. Can you imagine this story? She gets back to the police station and then she says she wants to lay a charge of assault. She has her medical paperwork, and she did her court thing, so please lay a charge, now! Do it! This is days later, days without rest, #AreYouSure! They take down the case details, but there’s only one witness. His own mother. Finally, a case number. Case number 637 2022 #ActonvillePolicestation. #CAS6372022
Then the system started to move, there was a detective allocated to the case, and she received an SMS! She was given a number to contact him on! She was emboldened – justice – finally. When they went to arrest him, the detective said that he wasn’t home. Days had passed, days, of course he wasn’t home. Then police called again, this time to tell her that she had to make the “witness” give a statement at the police station. What? #AreYouSure? That doesn’t sound right at all. You know where the witness lives right? You know because you wrote it down, remember the bit about where she was beaten by her son and you are asking the victim to go and fetch the Gogo from the residence of the man who she’s just got a restraining order against. Are you sure? They insist, they need it in writing! My friend refused. #AreYouSure. Do you want to know why the #GBV is a “scourge on our country” Mr President, because the system is orchestrated to make it nigh impossible for a woman to call out a monster.
When I asked my friend about writing this column, about putting this story “out there” into the media space she just listened. We spoke about the readers/ listeners, media houses and that there was a small chance that the community would drop a tweet to SAPS, share a post today for case number 6372022. What if one of those powerful social media presences highlighted #CAS6372022? I asked her again if she was sure? She said: “please don’t ask me “#AreYouSure? I’m sure, very sure.” So here we are, while we look across all media and see yada yada #WomensDay and #WomensMonth disintegrate under a pile of media about #KagisoShutdown and the rapes on the mine dumps. Here we see women being used to push a narrative of #Xenophobia where the truth is a rapist is a rapist, a violent man is a violent man, no need for origins. Why are we focusing on birthplaces? I don’t get that bit. #AreYouSure you’re going to use women’s broken bones to push your political agenda on foreign nationals? Yes, you’re sure, you’ve already done it. When the suspects were charged earlier this week we learnt that some of the illegal miners are minors.
I suppose I must focus again on the #ZamaZamas as media force fed this story to us repeatedly. relentless in their narrative. I was horrified when I saw the mining equipment that the Zamas use. Guys, we are not talking about a pan and a good eye, we are talking cranes, hoists, drilling and mining equipment that would make Anglo envious. I kid you not, this is not men behaving like moles digging through a tunnel to get a couple of nuggets. This is a full-scale mining operation. There are settlements just for Zamas all across the country. In some instances, the only reason the entire town exists is because the #ZamasZamas work there; I’m surprised they haven’t built shopping malls there. There probably are a few, why not? You made us believe that these are a handful of dangerous, armed men, but the truth is, this is a fully- fledged mining operation. Not only that, but amongst these very dangerous men are very dangerous teenagers, minors being miners, children being gangsters.
Talking about children, are we sure that the toxicology report from the #TavernDeaths has still not been released? Yes, I’m sure. What is really going on, anyone, anyone? Eleven boys died in circumcision ceremonies this week. Dying to become men. #AreYouSure?
Let’s get some good news before you go and hide under the bed. #SihleZikalala. Remember him, he’s my best to hate on; he’s the guy who crowed about giving a whole twenty food parcels to the entire KZN province during CoVid. He was hoofed as the premier of KZN this week and just as I was doing a dance of joy, there it was: the new headline that Sihle #Zikalala has been sworn in as the new Co-Operative Governance MEC. What does that title even mean? #AreYouSure?
Ace #Magashule lost his appeal at the #Concourt, YES! Sick notes at the ready people … Shaiks are on their way. The #PublicProtector’s case looks shakier than a green door as we heard this week how she tried to make Ace’s Vrede Dairy farm story go away. #Gumede, my other favourite villain, is back in court and the best news ever, are you ready? #AreYou SURE?
Here it is, the government announced a #WarAgainstPotholes. They launched a whole new app for reporting on potholes, are they quite mad? #AreYouSure? Pick a road, any road. You don’t need an app. Who got the tender, come on fess up?
I am noticing the news media are struggling to keep up because there were major electricity outages across the country, many under-reported. The only ones we hear about now are the ones that get bombed faster than we can pay for them as Eskom launches a “pay before you use” campaign. Are you asking us to give you our hard-earned cash and then you’ll promise to give us the likelihood of electricity? Are you sure? Seriously though, why aren’t the army protecting every single power unit in the country? I mean is it that hard? #Roodepoort became a live wire because of no power for days, and then the protests began.You know the friend with #CAS6372022, she has been without electricity for days because the area she lives in apparently owes Eskom a load of money. That was the reason they gave her all those “but’s”. You’re not going to believe me, but it is absolutely true, she has a prepaid electricity meter and it’s charged with money, yet #Eskom have suspended electricity to that entire region regardless of whether you’re on prepaid or not. They cut the whole #Khayelitsha too. #Khayelitsha the place where broken promises come together into an airplane graveyard for humans. #AreYouSure?
#KZNflood victims, remember them? Well, six thousand of them, whom have been promised housing since April, have been living in an open space in a Transnet building. No privacy whatsoever, six thousand people? This week they were “evicted”; are you sure? Yes, I’m sure, they were chased out of that building in such a violent manner that they left all their belongings behind. I say all their belongings, but what I mean is the little that they had left after their homes were washed away.
#Marikana ten years later and victims still have not seen any compensation? In Ceres, a woman from an old- age home was left outside and died overnight? #WomensMonth are you sure?
And where was the prez this week? Well, he told us how bad the “woman thing” is at a big bash, but there is no big plan. That #Farmgate and the couch story is being used as a battering buffalo. The #stepaside rule is making many people do the hokey- pokey so he’s got his hands full. Word on the street is that the Inyalas (not the buck, the army ones) have been seen carrying barbed wire to the North West as we gear up for the ANC elective conference. So that’s where they are, our army, protecting politicians. Obviously. #AreYouSure? There were other reports saying that the army is on standby. Stand. By. That’s about right isn’t it. Not stand and deliver.
Look women’s month did have some shining examples of extraordinary women, not just #CAS6372022. We had some cool sport stuff, golfer #AshleighBuhai made history by winning a major. The Springboks ladies gained a proper sponsorship.
When it comes to sport, my personal favourite story is #BenniMcCarthy. That Benni that #Amazulu fired is now coaching Ronaldo at #OldTrafford as the new #ManchesterUnited coach! Good on ya Benni! Bring on the red tide!
Across the waters, France had a monster fire. Serena Williams is retiring. The Kenyan Elections appear to have been rigged and Olivia Newton-John died. Trump got raided and pleaded the fifth.
Something to hold onto: On July 20, the man said to be responsible for some of the most significant fossil finds that shaped our understanding of our evolutionary past, died in Kenya. Kamoya Kimeu, the son of a goat herder, whose preternatural gift for spotting ancient human remains among the arid badlands of East Africa, became known as the world’s greatest fossil hunter. He was believed to be 84.
My week, and women’s day was tremendous. I’ve made my return to the ocean and with three dives under my belt in one week and with a weekend up ahead, I guess you can call me a skiver diver. It’s so beautiful in Sodwana Bay. I am so grateful to be back in the ocean. Humdulla!
I’m Tonya Khoury and you’ve just scratched the surface with Acumen Media.