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Picture: Phando Jikelo

Through a millennial lens

Thoko Miya writes…

South Africa celebrates 23 years of democracy and freedom from political and economic oppression based on race, tribalism and racial marginalisation, gender based violence continues to be a challenge across the country.

We commemorate Youth Day and an end to violence against young people but for many people in South Africa, violence continues to be part of their daily experience.

It’s time South Africa develops a multi-disciplinary approach towards deconstructing, preventing and healing from the effects of all violence but especially gender based violence.

Despite constitutional protection against discrimination based on a person’s gender and sexual orientation, gender based violence continues to be a major problem for women, girls, homosexual men and young boys.

While there are organisations such as Sonke Gender Justice, SWEAT and The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation there needs to be more done to end this war.

Violence against women is often inflicted by someone they know. Sometimes it is done because of a woman’s sexual preference of other women or because they don’t conform to the gender roles they are expected to conform to.

This culture of defining people on a scale of either masculinity or femininity often causes women and homosexual men to be the victims of brutal attacks.

Narrowing the potential for this kind of act to take place can only result through effective destruction of gender stereotypes and roles.

In some communities in South Africa, homosexuality is seen as a deviation from accepted and expected male and female behaviour and gender roles.

Women who identify as lesbian are raped in what is known as “corrective rape”.

This rape is done in order to “remind these women – who usually dress and identify as male – that they are still women and still men’s power. Men who have sex with men also experience violence in different forms from verbal abuse to physical abuse, also because they are seen to not be confirming to accepted gender roles.

Young girls and boys are also the victims of sexual and physical violence as they are young and vulnerable and unable to protect themselves from the adults who are perpetrators of these crimes.

The use of violence in any society particularly as a mechanism of oppression and/to perpetuate misogyny, sexism, and intolerance towards homosexuality shows a fundamental problem within a society. Our society continues to perpetrate violence against women, children and homosexual men.

Young women, young homosexual men and children deserve to be free from the fear of violence. The war of the bodies of the vulnerable must stop.

WE want to hear YOUR thoughts!

Submit your opinion to TYI about youth related issues to theyoungindependents@inl.co.za