Men, it’s time to man up and face the truth

Men, it’s time to man up and face the truth

Terence Pillay believes the outrage by men to the hashtag Men Are Trash is misplaced. We have a collective responsibility around the scourge of women and children abuse. 

Silhouette of a person / Pexels
Silhouette of a person / Pexels

Listen to the audio and read the details below: 

Two friends of mine, both accomplished journalists, posted about the hashtag #MenAreTrash on their Facebook accounts and had their comments deleted by Facebook because someone complained about it.

The first one posted: “Raise your sons to respect and love women please. Enough is enough! #menaretrash. Then in response to a tweet from the South African Government on the death of the UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana, another friend posted: “The word missing from this tweet is MEN. A MAN did this. MEN are overwhelmingly the abusers, rapists and murderers. MEN are the crisis, not abstract, perpetrator-less "violence against women and children". MEN. We have a MAN problem. A war against women waged by MEN.”

The complaints saw Facebook remove it from the social media platform because they claimed it was hate speech and then later changed their minds, revoked the ruling and allowed the comments back on the timeline. How absurd is this? Femicide in the country is a huge issue. According to Africa Check, the murder of Mrwetyana has led to national soul searching and debate over violence against women. In fact, there have been calls for a “national shutdown” to protest femicide in South Africa. Women have taken to Twitter to tweet #AmINext – asking if they will become the next victim of murder.

The outrage from men is misplaced. As far as I am concerned it’s about a collective responsibility. The fact is: the statistic is that a woman is murdered every four hours in South Africa. To put it in terms people will understand, by the time this show is over, a woman would have been murdered. So who’s accountable? In a report on gender-related killing of women and girls, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime says that “the conventional understanding conveys the idea that hate crimes against women are perpetrated by men simply because of the gender roles assigned to women.”

So we can’t take it personally, even though it’s tough to hear. No one is saying is that Joe Blog specifically from Umhlanga is of serial woman hater material. But what we are saying is that Joe Blog from Umhlanga should be part of the collective outrage by men to what is happening to women. Otherwise he’s complicit. 

Yes, these are individuals that do the crime. And mothers and fathers are raising these sons. What kind of society breeds this kind of behavior?  Movies, music, university culture school culture all seems to point to misogyny. What are we doing about it? Every space needs to be a safe space. And the only way to create that is to make sure that the people that occupy these spaces don’t murder and rape women and children.

And who exactly are these people? They are your sons, your brothers, your fathers. We are all related.  So if it’s your co-worker, brother, father or boss behaving badly we need to call it out. And if he’s committed a crime he needs to go to jail.

But in South Africa, is jail really a deterrent? So what then? Do we need harsher sentences? Chemical castration is practised in the US, UK, Russia, South Korea, India and Argentina. There have been very few cases in South Africa in which convicted rapists were sentenced to chemical castration. And South Africa was number four on the highest female interpersonal violence death rates in 2016 out of a hundred and eighty-three countries. So men, it’s time to take the gloves off, and be outraged by this.

You can email Terence Pillay at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @terencepillay1 and tweet him your thoughts 

Also read: Could the mayor who wanted to clean up corruption in the city be corrupt herself?

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