Monthly Archives: March 2013

Against All Odds – the Daily Maverick

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We found this article on Daily Maverick and thought it might interest you: http://dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2012-12-13-fighting-abuse-we-need-the-courage-to-continue-against-all-odds

Breaking the Silence

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Zama Ndlovu review of Redi book

 

 

Zama Ndlovu’s definitive review of Redi Thlabi’s groundbreaking memoir, Endings and Beginnings (Jacana) describes how this brave broadcaster and columnist has not just broken the silence that normally surrounds and protects sexual abusers of children and women in South Africa, but also explained why this silence is so widespread here, and where it’s sources lie in our culture and history.

 

This book does not just enlighten, it forces the reader to question the silence as never before and to  think of constructive action.

Sadly, this was Zama Ndlovu’s  last but one column in The Times.

Where did we go wrong?

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Reading a story in one of the community newspapers this week, made me ask the question – where did we go wrong?

The headline of the article: “Breeding” disabled children speaks of how teenage girls are deliberately falling pregnant and abuse alcohol to ensure the child is born disabled in order for them to qualify for a Care Dependency Grant. The logic, apparently is as follows:

In South Africa, financially strained parents qualify for a Child Support Grant of R280.00 per month which is barely enough to buy nappies (diapers) but if you have a disabled child you are caring for, you qualify for a Care Dependency Grant of R1200.00 until the child turns 18 years of age.

The 16 year old mother interviewed for this story said “I needed her to be born this way, I needed the money”. The toddler (3 years old) has Foetal Alcohol Syndrome – hardly able to walk and her vocabulary consists only of “mamma” and “no”.

This mother receives a Care Dependency Grant of R1200.00 per month but most of the money goes towards supporting her alcoholic mother and 8 year old half-brother. The teenage mother describes herself as “not very bright” and has little aspirations. She went on to say that she went to school because there was nothing else to do. It was, apparently at school that she heard from a friend that her mother receives more than R1000.00 for her crippled brother. To the teenager, this sounded like a fortune. She then decided that a baby – hopefully a deformed one – would help her contribute to her family’s income. After 3 months of trying the teenager finally fell pregnant. Her boyfriend was 14 years old at the time.

This teenager knew that alcohol abuse could lead to the baby she was carrying being born mentally disabled, so she made sure that she drank a little more than usual while she was pregnant. She went on to say that although her daughter is “quite a handful”, she does not regret her actions.

Where did we, as a society go wrong? How did we allow the “handout mentality” to become so prevalent and acceptable? Surely the poor and impoverished have not just sprung up overnight? I’m sure many of us had grandparents or great grandparents who were impoverished or poor, who lived in sub economic townhouses?

My own grandparents had minimal education, earned the barest minimum wage (when they were lucky enough to be employed) but they fought hard to make sure their children were better educated in order for them to find decent paid work to support their families. My parents and their siblings, in turn, ensured that we received even better education to ensure that we were able to get better, decent, well paying jobs.

What has happened to us as families and as a society? What happened to this drive and determination to create a better life for ourselves and our children? When did it become the responsibility of government and everyone else to give handouts? Have these handouts (in the form of government social grants) become an easy way out – a “cop out”? Has government become an enabler to the “handout mentality” so prevalent in our society today?

As women, what has happened to our pride and dignity? Have we allowed our submission to the “handout mentality” to swallow our pride and dignity as well? Women no longer cook and bake themselves – if it cannot be heated in the microwave, our families don’t eat. Women no longer make or mend their own clothes – we buy more and we want new clothes all the time – not prepared to settle for second hand clothing either. Food gardens no longer exist – if we cannot run down to buy from the local supermarket or food market, we don’t have food to eat, the list is endless.

So . . . where did we go wrong . . . ?

Pornography and its link with violence against women and children

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TopTV told South Africa’s Broadcasting Regulator on Thursday (14.03.2013) that a porn bouquet of sex channels “could kick-start TopTV’s recovery”.

http://www.channel24.co.za/TV/News/TopTV-Porn-could-kick-start-recovery-20130315

I read somewhere recently that the Greek word “pornography” literally means pictures of prostitutes. Apparently, studies in the US show that 70 percent of women who appear in pornographic magazines, videos and films – and now the internet – are controlled by pimps who live off their earnings and force them into prostitution. 85 percent have been sexually abused as children and many of the women are survivors of rape and battery.

This means that most women being used in pornography are vulnerable and sexually exploited. Child pornography is evidence of serious crime: child sexual abuse.

Studies have shown that there is a strong link between the use of pornography and violence against women and children. Rapists, batterers and child molesters are often found to have large collections of pornography.

Hard core pornography – is explicit visual or verbal material that shows sexual intercourse in a degrading or violent manner.

Soft core pornography – is less explicit but also exposes genitals in a degrading manner.

Erotica – is sexually suggestive or arousing material that is free of sexism, racism and is respectful of all humans and animals portrayed – it is a healthy expression of human sexuality.

Now, I have the following questions to ask:

  • What do you feel when you see pornographic material (magazines, posters, advertisements, movies)?
  •  Do you think there is a link between legislation of pornography in South Africa and the rise in rape, battery, sexual abuse of women and children and adult and child      prostitution?
  •  Sex trafficking in women andchildren is increasing at an alarming rate – what can be done to protect women and children from becoming victims?