Somber faces, sad eyes followed the white coffin bearing the remains of South African beauty and business student Karabo Mokoena as it was wheeled into the church. Her relatives who included her siblings and her parents followed the casket, walking to the rhythm of a soft, gospel song that was playing in the background.
The chain of events leading to this day at the Diepkloof Multipurpose Centre in Soweto started when Karabos family reported her missing and mounted a search that included social media platforms. Sad news would greet the family on April 29th when a passerby found her body and called the police.Her body had been badly burnt, and it was alleged that her boyfriend‚ Sandile Mantsoe was the one responsible for this beastly act.
The 27-year-old Mantsoe is a forex trader by profession and has since been charged with premeditated murder and defeating the ends of justice. According to City News of SA, one in every four women is physically abused by her intimate partner. Every six hours, a former or current lover is killing a woman. Violence from intimate partners is typically triggered by factors such as alcohol use.
After the learning about the death of his niece, Tshepo Mokoena said, “He killed and burned my daughter.”And just like that, social media erupted with people denouncing the incident and the issue of abuse. There was a tweeter hashtag that said #MenAre Trash and their women poured their hearts out about what they think about the abuse of women.
#menaretrash no.. it's more like murderers, rapists, abusers, sexual offenders are trash. And that is both men and women. So stop.
— Valerie 🤦🏻♀️ (@ValerieOdendaa1) May 12, 2017
Our women are speaking. Their voices must be heard. #MenAreTrash comes from somewhere deep. If you know that place, make things better.
— Eric Onyango Otieno (@Rixpoet) May 12, 2017
— Babes Womzabalazo (@NalediChirwa) May 16, 2017
The hashtag revealed the various kinds of abuse that women were going through at the hands of men with one woman called Alexanda Buki Deen explaining how she was abducted and abused by a man. In a series of tweets, she said that he just grabbed her and forced her into his car, threatening to kill her if she tried anything stupid.
But the courageous woman says that she realized that jumping out of the moving car was her only way out She survived the ordeal but is now missing several teeth and her face is disfigured. The only thing she wanted back was her beautiful face and smile that certainly different what she could manage at the moment.
“Jumping out of this car was my only way out. Because he was still holding on to my arm‚ the car dragged me for a few seconds. When I opened my eyes I had to get up and run” she tweeted.
In a heartfelt Facebook post, another woman by the name of Sinoxolo Sino Ndzobole wrote, “Where do I go to get help and protection before I become another static of a young woman killed by her ex-boyfriend….the police have failed me. “
“Since January 2017 he follows me around if he is not following me around he is parked in front of the complex gate where I stay and changes his numbers when I block him. He has tried to run me over while walking and off the road while driving home. As a result, my car is dented. This man abused the mother of his child and ex-girlfriend, and I was lucky he never abused me I jumped ship before I could witness his dangerous raging temper. His name is Emmanuel some know him as David. HE IS TRYING TO KILL ME!!”
Since then no one has heard from her, and her friends are concerned. In a series of Whatsapp messaged, her ex-boyfriend promises to rape her before killing her and taunts her by saying that opening a case was not going to help her.
“Where is the police to protect you now you piece of shit? The next time I try to run you over I won’t miss,” he threatened.
The United Nations (UN) defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”.
Here in Kenya, a woman was stabbed to death on Monday night by her 33-year-old husband who is a casual laborer. The man allegedly stabbed Viola Owuor to death after a quarrel over an ugali portion that he thought was too small. Patrick Odudo has since gone into hiding.
A similar incident happened over the weekend where another woman and her son were stabbed by the husband in Nyeri. The couple had also quarreled over food
According to the Human Rights Watch organization, Ugandan soldiers in the Central African Republic have sexually exploited or abused at least 13 women and girls since 2015 up to now, including at least one rape, and threatened some victims to remain silent, The Ugandan military has been deployed in the country since 2009 as a part of the African Union’s Regional Task Force to eliminate the Uganda rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA),
“As counter-LRA operations wind down, Uganda’s military should not ignore allegations of sexual exploitation and rape by its soldiers in the Central African Republic,” said Lewis Mudge, Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.A 2005 study by the World Health Organization revealed that while domestic violence was a global problem that affected millions of women, African women are the worst affected.
Acording to the study, 51 percent of African women have been victims of violence, 11 percent suffer violence during pregnancy, 21 percent marry before the age of fifteen and 24 percent experience female genital mutilation (FGM).
Rooted in our Culture
The Rainbo organization has observed that violence against women stats in childhood where African families prefer having sons over daughters. Sons are seen as a credit to their families and hence are weaned later and fed better and taken to school while families with only daughters face stigmatization.
Such societal norms make women grow with low self esteem and self worth, thus encouraging a never ending cycle of violence. Other causes of violence include frustrations of living standards, emancipation of men by their learned women, use of alcohol and drugs and permissive cultures that allow wife beating, virginal tests. Some religious traditions also encourage hounding, chaining and severely beating women.
Women are usually accused of witchcraft and casting spells on people. They are also victimized in cases of infertility while widows have to undergo painful purity rituals aside from having their property forcefully taken from them. The continent is also ravaged by diseases, refugee crisis, wars and conflicts which have led to poverty which is a big cause of abuse against women.
There have been great strides in fighting violence against women, but issues such as the unequal power relationship between men and women in predominantly patriarchal Africa and lack of goodwill have hindered significant progress.
African nations should implement the UN conventions on the prevention of incidents of violence against women by identifying as well as ending all cultural and religious practices and customs that enable violence against women. Men should also be educated to respect the rights and dignity of African women. Women should also be made aware of their rights and actions to take if their rights are violated.