16 days of activism against women and child abuse continue in South Africa many people and media joined in the conversations with many NGOs and celebrities holding events and talks throughout the nation to spread awareness. TV shows also ran plots that narrated and explored different forms of abuse. Many stories gave insight onto how abuse takes place daily in many households. Amongst these television broadcasts is The People Vs Patriarchy documentary, which recently aired on November 29th on MTV South Africa.
The last time MTV South Africa released anything similar was The people Vs The Rainbow nation. This recent doc is directed by Lebogang Rasethaba, a director already making a name for himself in the South African filming industry; and like it’s predecessor, The people Vs Patriarchy tackled each subtopic, splitting them into thought-provoking subheadings to undress patriarchy. For starters, the abusers themselves were interviewed, providing an in-depth insight into the complexity of abuse. It was also blatantly clear that many men felt it was their “right” to hit their partners. It’s frightening that this is a norm for many South African men as it is how many were raised. Probably without such being intended outcomes of society, sadly this is exactly what a Patriarchal environment breeds. The men themselves are trapped into a cage they continue to build.
How can a nation grow if it’s very people are in constant fear and internal social crisis? Society has ‘rebranded’ sex as something men can have if they want and for women to just willingly provide. Short dramatised clips, revealing a woman being harassed for refusing to speak to a ‘catcaller’ exposed this rape culture crisis and for South African women these were scenes all too familiar. The South African Constitution itself has some of the world’s best laws established to provide protection of women against abuse. This very Constitution isn’t effectively implemented, resulting in rampant patriarchal violence.
There were women in some of these group discussions who were victims of violence and sexual abuse. The women proceeded to enunciate their painful experiences from actually being raped and some emotionally abused. #menaretrash was another thing which came up. This hashtag trended online earlier this year in response to the violence towards women being reported at alarming rates.
South African women have grown up in this patriarchal environment. It is this upbringing that also causes victims to see such crisis as a norm. Men still believe that patriarchy is not a problem at all, at least judging from the ignorant twitter reactions. There is still a lot of denial around the issue, but most importantly the documentary ignited much-needed conversations. Starting conversations like these with family and friends will be the best start in bringing change. South Africa has come a long way with improving several socioeconomic challenges. Patriarchy is an obvious problem that needs everyone to take it more seriously.
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