A few things on my mind

Archive for May 2014

 

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I have like many been fascinated by the response to the #Saveourgirls campaign. As a woman and a mother this is something which obviously concerns me. And as much as it has received global attention, it will eventually be overshadowed by some other world tragedy. But while it still has the spotlight, maybe we should be looking at the root of this problem – that worldwide women are a commodity – and one without much value.

The abuse of women is endemic. Women are raped, trafficked to be sold as sex slaves drug mules and still no one has managed to put a cost the loss of their dignity and self-worth because you can’t put a monetary figure to it. I was once held up at gun point and during the robbery – I was shaking as a leaf – and one of the robbers said to me “Don’t worry, we don’t rape” I could have kissed him had it not been for the gun pointing at my face. The second time was only a few weeks ago when my husband woke up to find a man tiptoeing out of my room. I, clad in nothing else but a t-shirt– the perpetrator left with nothing but a cell phone – made sure he did not wake me up. It could be that he thought he had just entered a scene from ‘The Exorcism of Emily Rose’- I snore. I am being facetious I know – but I have been lucky. And that is what we are now calling it – because the chances of being raped a higher than of not.

I went to wedding once and the priest’s sermon was about placing value. He told of a prince that was ready to wed and after a country wide search he could not find a suitable princess. However, there was a local village girl that he had taken a liking to. Not overly convinced, the king agreed and said that at least she would not cost them the dowry a princess would have cost. To which the prince told his father that whatever the dowry he was going to pay for the princess, the king must triple it for this local village girl. Surprised by the prince’s demand, the prince responded “It is only through us placing value on her that the rest of the kingdom will follow suit” 

He was saying that all men must place value on their women, husbands on their wives, fathers on daughters and sons on mothers. The amount of value these men place on the women in their lives, it is the value that society will place on them. Every year you see the most influential leaders across the world congregate at places such as the World Economic Forums to discuss the facilitation of ‘peace’ and globalised trading, but the sexual misconduct against women and children still does not make it on the main agenda. Yes there will be side meeting on gender inequality – but that is again in the workplace where the money is. The plight against women doesn’t feature on the main agenda is because we are not deemed as a valuable asset – well we don’t have a monetary value.

It took the questioning of costs relating to our President’s house for him to mention that the upgrades to his house stemmed out of a need for heightened security because one of his wives was sexually violated at that house. Would you then not have thought that this would be the man who would have zero tolerance on sexual abuse in this country?  Would that not have made him want to make sure South Africa was the safest place for women to be in?

My husband always says the day that boys start finding interest in our daughter, is the day that he buys a gun and will take every visit by the suitor as an opportunity to clean his gun. And we all know those dads – the ones that you knew that you fuck with that his daughter – he will come sort you out.

Where then have these men gone? The ones that are able to stand up for their women, be it mothers, daughters, sisters and say “Not on my watch” Imagine is every potential perpetrator knew that every man in this world would put him down without hesitation if he touched any women inappropriately. I guess it would be up to the men to find it inappropriate first.  

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ImageFriendships are the most complex of relationships – more so than family.  I have been fortunate that I have acquired many friends over the years and we have formed a circle of friends. I always think of it as the same as King Arthur’s famous roundtable, where everyone who sits around this table is of equal status.

Back on the complexities of friendships, I have realised that same as family, friends seem to be the only relationships that even when they have crossed you – you seem to always forgive and come back to each other.  I speak from experience as I over these years have dealt with my fair share of crossings – either instigated by me or with me on the receiving end.  

One of the friends, who was then still not part of the circle, after observing a few of these crossing was surprised by the recipient’s  ability to forgive and move on – her exacts words were “Is there a shallow grave amongst you guys?”

Over the past week, I started thinking, as I do…. Imagine how hard it would be to keep such a secret. It would require so much work. For a secret as dark and deep as a shallow grave you would need to have a very tight knit circle of friends. However, there is no such thing as a shared responsibility on a secret. Even around King Arthur’s table there was a chair designated for King Arthur and he remained the king – the well-being of the kingdom rested on his shoulders, his responsibilities are slightly more than of his knights – as valued as they are. Even amongst his knights, I would imagine the ones that sat closest to him, were closer to the issues than those on the far end of the table.

That would be the same with the shallow grave, as much as the circle was privy to the existence of the shallow grave, there would still be the ones responsible for the incident behind the shallow grave. They would be the ones burdened with ensuring the secret was kept.

However, I am often surprised by how some people value themselves by how trusted they are with other’s secrets. You must have heard it before, “You can trust me with your secrets” and those are people that you should never tell your secrets to. Often the ones with a secret worth keeping have the ability to identify these people early on – hence their position in the circle. The challenge is that these people are almost always never aware of their shortcomings.

In their determination to claim some form of relevance – these are the people who plot and plan their rise to the top. Their choice of allies and modus operandi is always questionable, bringing into question their abilities – which almost always end up in not achieving their desired goal – a seat next to the King.

I must say I do empathise with the knight. I would imagine it would be difficult to explain to one’s ambitious wife, how you as a knight around King’s Arthur’s table do not enjoy the same privileges as some of the knights – when all are equal in status.

However, I would imagine once the King and his knights hear of the ambitions and possible impact on the well-being of the circle/kingdom/shallow grave, they would gather and put a plan in place to quell all ambitions permanently.

Shallow grave ….. what an imagination.