Hollow ring to this glory
WOMEN'S Month - so named and observed in honour of the fearless women who stood up to the might of the apartheid regime and demanded equality by marching to the Union Buildings in 1956 in protest against the pass laws - has come and gone.
Save for the usual noises and rhetoric by politicians and rights organisations calling for women's emancipation, nothing much changed in the way women in general are treated in this country, regrettably with the collusion of those who have the power to do something about it.
Tales of abuse of women, in some instances children barely out of the crib and the elderly, have been as commonplace as they would be any other day, Women's Month or not.
This newspaper ran the story of the sexual assault of a 13-year-old at the hands of fellow schoolmates.
As the month grew older, it seemed those among us who take pleasure in violating women were in some macabre contest to outdo each other.
It was in the same month that Sowetan published the sad tale of the rape of a 94-year-old granny by a village rogue well-known in the area for terrorising the vulnerable.
His grandmother had pleaded with the police not to release him into her custody because of his criminal activities. On the day of the alleged rapist's court appearance scores of old women protested and demanded protection from the police.
It was a story not dissimilar to another we ran about the plight of two grannies who were at the mercy of a gang who regularly preyed on them and robbed them of their cash during grant paydays. One was raped.
They too spoke of reporting the matter to the police, yet the thugs continued to run amok with impunity.
Just when many would have thought it would not get any worse, another newspaper ran with graphic pictures of the brutal assault a known abuser had carried out on his lover, despite the court order she carried that was meant to shield her from the kind of beating that had left her face an unsightly mess.
A common thread in these tragic events has been the lament of victims at the apparent apathy and disinterest of those who can make a difference. Women are often left to the mercy of abusive boyfriends, husbands, fathers, sons and strangers.
As long as such crimes continue to ravage and tear families - and in some cases communities - apart, the fanfare that usually accompanies events such as Women's Day - and Month - will continue to ring hollow.