Gender Based Violence: The Hypocrisy of Women’s Rights Groups

Now that the mass hysteria over the Tino Katsande assault case is ebbing away, I think it is time to take stock over where we are as a country in terms of gender equity and gender based violence.

I totally sympathise with Tino and no matter the circumstances I do not believe anyone has to be assaulted over anything, but on the other hand let us not rush to judge her lover/assailant, at least our law says one is innocent until proven guilty.

But what that case showed me is the total hypocrisy of some of our so called women’s rights and human rights campaigners.

This case showed that most of them are duplicitous opportunists who do not have the interests of women, or anyone’s for that matter, but rather they are after cheap publicity.

Being a journalist, a male one for that matter, I have written few stories about gender violence, my biggest frustration is that it is easier to squeeze water out of a stone than get a comment from these women’s organisations.

They come up with all sorts of excuses for not giving a comment, some downright ludicrous at best, but never anything of substance.

What they would rather do is wait to host a workshop, school people on domestic violence, shove statistics down their throats and pretend to be aggrieved, while rushing to the mountain top, screaming abuse.

The Tino case gave them that opportunity and sooner rather than later, she will be invited to these women’s organisations’ meetings, bestowed with an ambassadorial role and showered will all sorts of glowing titles and honours. But is that what the gender based violence crusade is all about?

Recently I wrote a story in The Standard that up to 15 women were raped daily, a number I believe is abnormally high, and naturally I expected outrage from these women’s organisations, but lo and behold the response was mute.

The few that I managed to speak to, claimed the number was low and this was due to the work women’s organisations had done in schooling the people and building their capacity to report those cases. Really?

There are several stories that my colleagues and I have written and as long as the statistics are not generated by these women’s oganisations, then getting direction or a comment from these organisations can be one of the most frustrating things in life.

This is not a rant against all women’s organisations, no, far from it. There are some out there that really do their work, but it’s those that go about carrying megaphones, yet doing nothing, that really irk me.

While Tino’s case did highlight a sad aspect of our society, some organisation has already milked the incident for all its worth and it’s only a matter of time before the cash registers start ringing.

As for gender equity and gender based violence, watch these organisations coming up with fancy themes, beautiful logos and artistic designs, and as for the battered woman, they eat on her behalf.

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Nqaba Matshazi is a journalist with The Standard.  You can check out his profile (http://www.africaontheblog.com/our-bloggers/nqaba-matshazi/) or follow him on twitter (@nqabamatshazi)

He writes in his personal capacity.

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