'We're on our own': Lerato Sengadi cautions women to prioritise safety

Lerato Sengadi says women in SA are not safe and no one seems to be doing anything about it.
Lerato Sengadi says women in SA are not safe and no one seems to be doing anything about it.
Image: Gallo Images / Oupa Bopape

A recent traumatic experience at the hands of petty thugs has left Lerato Sengadi painfully aware that women in South Africa are not as safe as they should be.

In an interview with SowetanLIVE sister publication TshisaLIVE, she said everything she had been through since a group of thugs tried to mug her last Thursday highlighted one painful truth.

"This whole incident that happened has just made me realise once more that, as women, we are honestly on our own," she said.

Lerato said everything from the process of opening a case with the police, to trying to raise awareness online - only to find that she'd been blocked by the official Saps Twitter page - made her realise that the country and its criminal justice system could do better by women.

"It has been the most disheartening thing to watch as police chase street vendors and old women trying to make a living from selling their atchars on the street during this lockdown to try and feed their families, while all the actual criminals are enjoying the freedom to terrorise people."

Lerato has since taken to social media to question what the government, the women's ministry and other officials were doing to ensure that women are safe from predatory men, whether on the road jogging or in their houses.

She encouraged women to always ensure that they actively think about their own safety because it's a matter of every woman for herself.

"For the most part, women need to know that you are on your own. If you go jog or to anywhere really, you need to ensure that you are able to protect yourself. If you are jogging in these areas where these guys are targeting women, [you need] to be armed with a taser, [or] pepper spray at least.

"There is no one on our side. There's no one looking out for us. They know that gender-based violence is the biggest thing happening at this time in this country. They still don't look after us."

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