As we “celebrate” another Women’s Day; and I say celebrate with a heavy heart, I’m overcome with mixed emotions ranging from sadness, anger, fear, uncertainty and resentment.
August is known for its howling winds; but also the so-called celebration of women’s rights in South Africa, a day off from work for most, celebrating the very same women whose blood taints our soil. A day that presents the ideal opportunity to update our cover images on social media, to ensure #womensday trends on Twitter, and to share all those celebratory posts honoring women. The bittersweet irony? These very same platforms allowing us to glorify women twice a year, is inundated with daily news headlines of women and girls being murdered, kidnapped, raped, abused and discarded like trash. August and November has become nothing more than the poster children for women awareness campaigns, a golden nugget for most marketing and PR professionals.
I know my opinion will definitely push some buttons, but it needs to be said. We live in a society where absent fathers are blamed for our societal problems. Although I agree to an extent, we need to address the impact damaged, depressed, narcissistic, and abusive women have on our future generation, especially our boys, who will eventually become husbands, fathers, and fill leadership positions, and ultimately bringing along the baggage of their past childhood traumas.
As a true crime fanatic, it’s always caught my interest how majority of these perpetrators come from a background of abuse, but even more so, mainly carried resentment towards their mothers or a motherly figure in their lives.
Why is this an important conversation I feel we need to have? Because I too was a victim of child abuse, by the very same hands that gave birth to me. The very woman that was supposed to be my protector, nurturer and safe haven, I had to be protected from. Although I forgave my mother, knowing that she too dealt with her own emotional scars from her past. I can’t help but wonder “what if”. What if mental health was not taboo at the time and she got the help for her mental health disorders, her uncontrollable rage, and her alcohol problem, would we have also known the the loving grandmother she is today?
We as society as a whole, but especially as women, have to step up. We have to step up and stand in for the single mothers, the women who aren’t coping, the overworked colleagues, the women who hide their problems behind their smiles. We have to step up for abused and troubled women and children and take them under our wings, be motherly figures for the neglected and stand up against a toxic society, and not become a part of it.
We can do better, South Africa.
We need to be better for the sake of our future generation, not once or twice a year; but every single day.