Loving Women's Month message from a man to all men

Stop violence against women
Stop violence against women

In my quest to be the change I want to see in South Africa, as far as fighting violence against women, on Women's Day I penned down a message to my wife and to all women in my family WhatsApp group.

The message was extended to my female friends and colleagues. That in our country there has been a growing number of incidents of women abuse by men is an open secret. The sad part is that the culprits are not always strangers but relatives (for example, husbands and uncles) and associates, such as boyfriends and colleagues. In his speech on Women's Day, President Cyril Ramaphosa summed up the women's dilemma thus: "Across our society, in towns and cities, in homes, in schools, in colleges and universities, in our streets, our parks and open spaces, a war is being waged against women. It is a war against women's bodies, their dignity and their right to freedom, security and equality."

Given this gloomy picture for women, this is what I wrote my wife:
"My beautiful wife, you who completes me... as the country celebrates women, I together with the kids just want to let you know that we celebrate you. We do so because of the role that you play in this family. For keeping us together and happy all the time, notwithstanding the fact that we are not always the best you expect.

"We love you for who you are to and what you do for us. You are special to us. I love you. With you by my side, life is worth living. May you have a happy Women's Day."

To say that my wife was ecstatic would be an understatement.

The message I sent to the family female friends and colleagues reads:

"South African women have been at the receiving end of countless forms of abuse by men.

"For this reason, I took a conscious decision to pen down this note just to let you know that I celebrate you. You deserve to be celebrated for who you are. Your sense of humour, your professionalism, your smiles and your beauty.

"You are one of the best that the universe possesses and no doubt brag about. I would like to say if there has ever been a man that caused you pain, whether emotionally, verbally or otherwise and never said sorry, today I take a stand to apologise on behalf of that loser.

"I say, you did not deserve any mistreatment any man may have ever done to you. I am sorry for any pain that you suffered because of a man. That's not how we men should treat a woman. No man should hurt a woman. You deserve love and may you feel loved. Never again should you experience any form of abuse by a man. Know that you are special and lovable."

I received many humbling responses of appreciation.

More is required from government to deal with the perpetrators. It is also upon each an every person, especially us men to start doing our part when it comes to valuing women. We must stop relegating them to sex objects and start treating them as equal partners.

To this end, I wish to pose these questions to men: What kind of a man are you beating and insulting a woman? What kind of a man are you who speaks down on a woman? What kind of a man are you who doesn't celebrate a woman? What kind of a man are you who don't spend time with his wife/partner?

Be a man, say sorry to your wife or any woman you have hurt.