By Dimo Mariri
On the surface, the hashtag “Men Are Trash” comes across as perverse and divisive. However, as many people have argued, the hashtag is a desperate cry for help by our mothers, sisters, wives and daughters.
It helps no one to dwell on the merits or demerits of the hashtag itself. The most important thing we must do as a nation is to begin to look for solutions to obviously a critical and urgent situation.
I believe no honest and right-thinking person, male or female, can stand against the fact that rape, murder and all forms of physical and emotional abuse that women suffer at the hands of men must be stopped.
At the outset, there must be repercussions against the perpetrators of all these horrific things done to women. Clearly the marches by women in front of the courts every time a rape-accused appears have only achieved so much. A deterrent must be found.
It is high time this issue were elevated to a national dialogue the same way we have done with other political issues in recent days.
Whenever there has been a burning issue in this country, marches have been held, symposiums have been organized and dialogues have been arranged to try and find solutions. Women abuse is a bigger issue and deserves just as much if not more attention. It does precisely so because the abuse of women reveal something much more“broken” at the core of our society. And we need to establish what it is.
It is time for all the important stakeholders to take up this issue. I’m thinking about organizations such as CONTRALESA, Sanco, political parties, student organizations and trade unions.
Community meetings need to be organized where societies must engage on this issue. Workshops and meetings must be organized at workplaces where employees must discuss the abuse of female staff by male employees.
At universities and high schools, symposiums need to be held to discuss specifically the harassment and all kinds of abuse against female students.
Parliament must table the issue and discuss it with the same vigour we have seen them do with other issues.
These sections of society are constituencies of the organizations I referred to above. They must be engaged to take this issue more seriously than it has been. The march to the Union Buildings named, Not-In-My-Name on 20 May 2016, at 10:00AM is an important step in the direction of addressing this monster.
No one can claim to have the right diagnosis and the relevant solution to this scourge at this point. But unless we make it a national problem, we will continue to be terrorized.
- Dimo Mariri is a social commentator.