Tag Archives: Assault

The war on women’s bodies.

23 May

The war on our bodies has been an ongoing struggle for decades, dating back to the 1970’s. People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) was formed in 1979 by a group of women volunteers in order to provide referral services and shelter to women experiencing domestic violence.
The word “jack-roll” or ‘jack rolling”, started during the 1980s by a gang called ‘the jackrollers’, it was the abduction of women in townships who would then subjected to lengthly periods of gang rape.

It was only after The Bill Of Rights was signed, did women receive formal recognition as equal citizens. For many years South African women were under the legal control of their fathers and husbands, this is still the same in many African countries.
The domestic violence act 116 of 1998 was signed: To provide for the issuing of protection orders with regard to domestic violence; and for matters connected therewith.

About ten years ago, somebody asked me when I will stop marching and pushing the anti-abuse campaign, my answer was when the abuse stops.

I have written many blogs on the state of affairs regarding rape and abuse in 2014 I wrote about a women who called out for help after she had been raped, she called on the police for assistance, her response came from the Hillbrow police station where six policemen( Men) were called to a rape case, they found the perpetrator and let him go. The survivor was present and requested medical attention, they denied that and told her to sleep it off as she had been drinking. I have highlighted on many cases where survivors have received ill treatment from police personnel when trying to report a case. Like many activists and organisations, this outcry and call has been the forefront of many campaigns, yet there has been very little change.
Over the past years we have seen the disrespect of women’s lives from the very publicised murder cases such as Oscar Pistorius, who killed his girlfriend Reeve Steenkamp and received a reduced jail sentence to Shrien Devani who was acquitted for murdering his wife Anna Dewani and Thato Kutumela who was sentenced to 20 years behind bars for the murder of his girlfriend, Zanele Khumalo. Former Soweto community radio presenter Donald “Donald Duck” Sebolai was sentenced to 20 years in prison for murdering his girlfriend, Rachel “Dolly” Tshabalala.
Unfortunately they have been hundreds if not thousands who have gone unnoticed.

Women in our present day still face many obstacles and challenges which can be related to poverty, violence and abuse in the home, unemployment, access to quality health care and legal representation.
Financial dependance of their male partners or husbands has increased vulnerability to domestic violence and rape.
The girl child has been greatly affected by the personal home front as well as discrimination at school, from the subject choices which have seen to be suitable fro male learners, girls have been sexually harassed, raped and abuse, some forced to drop out due to teenage pregnancy, possibly caused by rape. Many young girls miss school during their menstrual cycles as they cannot afford sanitary towels and tampons.

Over the past few weeks there has been in increase in reported crimes against women. These barbaric acts have been publicised and there has been a huge outcry from all sectors, that we need an intervention. This is true but we need to understand and own up to the fact that this has been on ongoing problem for years. The change that has occurred is that more incidents are being reported and now we hear a strong outcry from men.
The rate of crimes and murders that have escalated within the LGBT community. Due to the stigma attached many cases are not even heard and still remain unresolved.

Where to from now?
To start with, our men need to hold each other accountable. Many years ago I dated a man who’s business partner continuously made jokes about beating up women and this frustrated me, causing many arguments in our home. My then partners undermining attitude was that it was just a joke and I should get over it by response was and still is the same, if you joke about it, you condone the action. We need to create a shift in our conversations and attitudes towards women.

Gender equality starts in the home. There should not be gender specific roles for boys and girls, parents should be seen as equal. Children are taught and emulate what their parents do. Fighting in the home has proven to have lifelong effects on children. Many people decide to remain in abusive relationships as they feel that separation will affect the children, the violence and hatred is what affects the children.
If incidents happen at schools and remain unresolved, notify the department of eduction. No child should be scared to go to school or face any form df discrimination whilst trying to get an education.

The police need to be held accountable. Correct protocol measures need to be adhered with taking down reports, recording crimes and treatment of survivors.
We need harsher laws for rapists and abusers. Women need to stop being blamed for what happened to them. Victim blaming is still a major concern. I have made many reports and complaints to IPD with no response but if we get large number of valid complaints, then action will take place. Their contact details are:  
Address in Gauteng City Forum Building
 114 Madiba Street
 Pretoria
Telephone number: 012 399 0000

Email address

Complaints@ipid.gov.za

Our minister of police Mr Fikile Mbalula is very active on twitter: @mbalulafikile
 
Social media, should be used for good and not just scandal. If an incident occurs, recording it is necessary but so is justice. Record the dialogue and images but also record relevant information such as car number plates, what the perpetrator looks like, the exact location of where the crime takes place, such as a road sign, building structure etc
One should notify the police immediately and seek help for the survivor. We should make more citizen complaints, hold our police accountable. There are too many reported cased where investigating officers receive bribes and then in questioning the survivors, telling them that they should drop the case and convince them that they would not survive long trails. Granted trials are long and tedious and the incident will have to be repeated many a times but by keeping quiet will not help as the incident will still be repeated in your mind.

If you need assistance here are a few organisations that I have worked with and strongly endorse:

1. FEW: Forum For The Empowerment of Women
Call: +27 11 403 1906/7

Social media:
@forumfortheempowermentofwomen

Email
project1@few.org.za

Website:
http://www.few.org.za

FEW was established by black lesbian women activists living in Johannesburg in 2001.In a post 1994 South Africa and with the new constitution of 1996 recognising sexual orientation within the equality clause, it was clear that we had to organize ourselves to ensure that we were able to claim and live the rights entrenched in the constitution. Already, with increasing numbers of LGBTI people coming out and being visible both in everyday life as well as within human rights defending work, the age-old issues of discrimination, stigmatisation and marginalization were becoming more blatant. The group which initially began the conversation about organizing black lesbian women were concerned that within the broader LGBTI and women’s human rights issues, black lesbian women were more vulnerable because of intersecting identities, contexts and realities.
We also recognised the power within our community – both black lesbian women, women in general and the LGBTI community – to confront the abuses that were being perpetrated against us in a democratic South Africa. Initially, the focus was on social space and service provision, including counseling and information, education and communication on key issues, health and related realities of lesbian lives. A key focus was on the issue of hate crimes, particularly rape and sexual assault, which were being reported in growing numbers. The hate crimes were being perpetrated based on assumptions about sexual orientation and gender identity which were seen as deviant and so worthy of responses by communities. This homophobia was directed at all LGBTI people, but the targeting of black lesbian women for this “fixing” was obvious and linked to the patriarchal nature of our society which in turn fed heteronormativity. Projects included a small scholarship fund for survivors of hate crime related violence, drama and soccer as processes to engage with black lesbian women.

2. POWA: people Opposing Women Abuse:
Telephone: -11 642 4345/6
infor@powa.co.za
Twitter: @powa_za

POWA is a “feminist, women’s rights organisation that provides both services, and engages in advocacy in order to ensure the realisation of women’s rights and thereby improve women’s quality of life”.
POWA’s uniqueness as an organisation is in providing both services to survivors and engaging in advocacy using a feminist and intersectional analysis. Our work is rooted in the belief that change can only be said to be effective when women’s lives are directly improved through our interventions. We also believe that there is no single route to change, and thus constantly seek new and creative approaches in our programming to achieve the change we seek.

Frontline Services – Shelters, counseling, and legal advice
As one of our core frontline services, POWA provides shelter services for clients (and their children where relevant) who have been the victims of GBV. These services are located in the East and West Rand, and a “second stage” house is located in Berea. POWA also provides several forms of counselling to clients (including shelter clients), such as face-to-face counselling, support groups (facilitated by a social worker) and telephone counselling and referrals. The Legal and Advocacy Department at POWA also assist women (approximately 50 per month) with telephonic and face-to-face-legal advice to women, court preparation and support, and referral to other professionals and practitioners (pro bono).

Advocacy
The Legal and Advocacy Department at POWA works to “provide quality women-centred legal service and engage in national and regional advocacy for the protection and promotion of women’s rights.” POWA’s advocacy work includes advocating for legal reform, for example, parliamentary law reform submissions as well as strategic litigation. We actively participate in national advocacy. We are a member of the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR), a network of 26 Civil Society Organisations and Development Partners. In South Africa, POWA is the lead organisation spearheading the eight-nation Raising Her Voice Campaign, working to empower women to hold governments accountable to commitments on GBV and HIV.

Aluta Continua.

To continue the dialogue contact me via Facebook or twitter:
@RosieMotene.

The Botswana incident is now behind me.

1 May

Image

This morning as I woke up from a deep and beautiful sleep, I can only but feel the relief and enjoyment of being able to exhale. Last year I was injured during an unfortunate incident that occurred in Botswana where I was punched in the face, which lead to nasal surgery. The incident took place at The Lansmore, Masa square hotel where a fight broke out and I was punched in the face accidentally. The punch was not aimed at me but at David Baitse, who was standing next to me.The events that occurred after, took me through an emotional and psychological roller coaster and I’m happy to say, the matter has been resolved.

 After making an additional trip to Botswana and making copious amounts of phone calls to Botswana police, trying to find out the status of my case and not getting anywhere, Bissau finally called me.

It was last Monday afternoon and he called to apologise for what had occurred in December. To be honest I did not take him serious and he suggested that we meet, so he could make an appropriate apology and that he should take responsibility for his actions. A mediation meeting was set up for 30 April 2014, at my lawyer’s office in Gaborone, Botswana. He was accompanied by is lawyer.

Our meeting was an amicable one, where he acknowledged his wrongdoing and apologised for not acting in the appropriate manner. He also agreed to take care of my medical costs that I incurred from the surgery, hospital and post doctor visits.

The week after the incident happened, Tata Madiba had passed away. On the Sunday after his death was a day of reflection for the world, I lay in bed watching documentaries and tribute pouring in for this phenomenal man. Madiba left us with an amazing legacy and taught us all so many things and forgiveness being the most important and difficult. It was that day I decided I would need to find forgiveness in my heart for Bissau. I prayed and processed my pain, both physically and emotionally. My December holiday i did a lot of resting, crying, praying wondering why this had happened but more importantly focusing on finding that inner peace again.

South Africans must recall the terrible past so that we can deal with it, forgiving where forgiveness is necessary but never forgetting: Nelson Mandela.

 

So when the apology came through, the past five months of my challenges, struggling and dealing were finally coming to end. He made a comment, that the incident created a lot of attention on him where he should have supplied empathy and support to me. This is common in many assault and abuse cases. I thank him for acknowledging that.

 

From every negative situation, one can derive positivity and he suggested that this matter is no different. He has agreed that, in the future he will be working with various women’s organisations. NGO’s across the globe struggle with financial support and creating awareness, he has agreed that he will create synergies with NGOs to see where he could assist with their needs.

Since I had received a lot of support from Gender affairs and Emang Basadi in Botswana, perhaps he could lend assistance there as well as the Kagisano Society women’s shelter.

 

As I asked for assistance from my government via twitter, the incident went viral and I received messages, comments, and retweets etc form across the globe. My host Berry Heart received many calls from around the world, offering their assistance and support and checking if I was safe and alright, she received calls from women in the entertainment industry such as Connie Ferguson and Kuli Roberts and this sparked an idea. Women have had a history of not supporting each other but this was different, she saw how we collectively we can do so much more. We then had dialogue with other women in the arts and we have now formed a synergy titled: Women in arts. WIA is made up of women in the arts space, whether it is singing, poetry, acting, dancing etc. We aim to use our craft and skills to create awareness and create a better and harmonious environment and more importantly we intend to be the voice for so many voiceless women. We need to create dialogue in areas where women have never been allowed to express their feelings, we want to address issues that governments should take further and create change. We want to give inspiration to girls and women and prompt them to live their best lives possible.

 

The social network attention also created a lot of negative and skeptic comments. One message that came through that really hit home for me was from a woman who tweeted; ‘Women are beaten up everyday, why is it a big thing because it happened to Rosie Motene’. For many days I thought about this and realised that the statement was hurtful but very true. Women are being beaten ever day, in fact every second, why is there only selective noise? This made me realise that we still have a long way to go and that the problem of abuse worldwide needs greater attention.

 

As I move on and rise like a phoenix from the ashes, I’m grateful and give thanks to many people, including:

The team from Proudly SA

Mr. Clayson Monyela, South Africa’s head of Public Diplomacy.

Mr. Maurizio Mariano.

Ms. Corra Skenjana (Admin Attache) and Ms Mauku (Home Affairs) both of the SA High Commission in Gaborone who attended to the matter on the morning of the incident, they insisted that the police take my statement and transported me to the airport for my emergency flight home.

The department of women, children and people living with disabilities, with he National Council Against Gender-based Violence for connecting me to Interpol.

The SA high commission to Botswana.

Mrs. Wendy Griffiths who assisted with my emergency response.

The V-day team: Cecile Lipworth, Barbara Mhangami and Gina Shmukler.

Lebo and Simba who tried to get the police to attend to the matter and for taking care of collecting my belongings from my hotel and meeting me at the airport before my departure.

Nicole and Sheldon Artman for taking care of me the week of my surgery.

Mbali Kgosidintsi and her family, for offering their assistance on the ground.

Mme. Setswaelo

Emang Basadi

Gender affairs.

Hlomla Dandala for alerting Phat Joe and Pearl Thusi and METROFM for allowing them to broadcast my plea on air.

The RGB team.

The Barbuzano’s

The Ferguson’s

Akin Omotoso and Katarina Hedren.

To all my friends and family, thank you for your support, prayers and love.

My legal team at Radipati and co.

If I have left anyone out, please now that your love is appreciated.

 To my powerful, soul sister Berry Heart. Your strength and love is astounding. I know you endured a lot during that time and I thank you for standing your ground. I thank you for your honesty and bravery.

And finally I thank Bissau for standing up like a man and taking responsibility.

 

Aluta Continua.

 

For more information on Women In Arts: WIA, on what we plan to achieve and how you can assist, please contact

Rosie Motene; Rosie@rosiemotene.biz

Berry heart: Berryheart@googlemail.com

 

Women’s organisations in South Africa and Botswana.

POWA: www.powa.co.za

Department of women, children and people living with disabilities: www.dwcpd.gov.za

Emang Basadi: www.emagbasadi.org.bw

Gender affairs: www.gov.bw

 

Still I Rise

Maya Angelou, 1928
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.