We must include men when talking about women abuse: Madonsela

Thuli Madonsela at the East Coast Radio FNB Business Women's Breakfast at the ICC in Durban. Picture: THULI DLAMINI
Thuli Madonsela at the East Coast Radio FNB Business Women's Breakfast at the ICC in Durban. Picture: THULI DLAMINI

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela says interventions aimed at ending abuse against women must include men in order to have an impact.

Madonsela spent a night at Constitutional Hill with women from different races and age groups discussing solutions for the problems faced by society.

After a night around the fire‚ Madonsela then became part of the intergenerational democracy dialogues.

In the discussions‚ four generations came together to talk about the South African problems and solutions. These generations were women who participated in the 1956 march‚ those who were part of the 1976 protests‚ those born in the 1980s and those born in a free South Africa.

Speaking to Morning Live on Wednesday‚ Madonsela said femicide was one of the greatest threats facing women’s freedom today.

“It is an expression of social injustice. You say the law must do something‚ yes‚ it must do so. But the law is not enough. The reason people kill their wives and girlfriends and beat women in bars and places like that is not necessarily because there is no law.

Step out of line‚ ‘odd’ Madonsela tells SA women

“It is because there is a pathology in our nation. There is a sickness in our nation. We need to heal those sicknesses in our nation.”

Madonsela said people who kill women do so because they feel alienated‚ inadequate or not belonging. South Africa needs to find ways to make them feel they belong so that they don’t take it out on women‚ she said.

She said the first people who need to protect women are the men who are abusing women.

“The abusers have to take responsibility for their own anger‚ insecurities and find a way to affirm themselves. No happy person kills other people or harms other people. We harm other people when we are unhappy or insecure.

“The second group of people [who must protect women] is society as a whole. We need to roll up our sleeves and protect women. Secondly we need to reach out to men. A lot of our interventions around equality target women. Even interventions around gender justice‚ including gender-based violence‚ target women. But the people who harm women are not women but men.

“We need to reach out to men in a manner that makes men understand that when women rise‚ it does not mean they have to fall. When women progress‚ it does not mean that men have to regress. In fact we can all move forward‚” Madonsela said.

Madonsela then expressed her views on the vote on a motion of no confidence which took place in Parliament on Tuesday.

“As a citizen I would say we saw democracy in action. Our Constitution provides means through which we elect those among ourselves that we consider the most trustworthy‚ selfless and competent. Those people yesterday deliberated and voted what they think is the best thing for South Africa. It is now up to South Africans [to decide] whether they agree with them or not.”

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