Maybe then we'll get the message that black women's lives matter

ANALYSIS: MICHELLE FESTUS

I have just done a follow up interview with ANN7 on violence against women, with particular reference to the rape and gruesome murder of 19-year-old Lekita Moore from Nooitgedacht on the Cape Flats.

With most of the listeners calling for the death penalty, I am left with a feeling that we, as citizens, both women and men, don't actually want to take any responsibility for the normalisation of violence in our society. I think that calling for the death penalty is the easy way out. It means that all you have to do is demand a referendum and vote for the death penalty - this is not my understanding of active citizenship!

Moreover, research has proven that the death penalty is not a deterrent to violence. I fail to understand how we can advocate for the use of violence to end violence.

Are we forgetting that we have a culture of impunity, since many perpetrators go free and are exempt from punishment? Do we think that we can use mob justice and hand down sentencing ourselves? We are a country deeply in need of healing and we have to find alternative ways of ending violence. Firstly, we have to be able to imagine a world without violence and dream of "making violence against women unthinkable"! Only if we can imagine it, can we work towards it.

Patriarchy is the root cause of violence against women and unless we dismantle this system of male domination, nothing significant will change. Each one of us has a responsibility to end violence against women and girls. We collectively create and re-create systems of white patriarchal hetero-normative privilege.

We can choose dignity, respect, justice and equality for all. This is a political choice, a feminist choice, because the personal is political and vise versa. We have to ask ourselves, "what am I doing to end violence against women and what am I doing to challenge the system of male domination in my family, in my community and in our society?

The brutality of the violence speaks to the hatred of women (misogyny), which is part of the sad reality of the normalisation of violence. Unfortunately, the state has also failed to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of women. In my view, ending violence against women is not a priority for our government, beyond the rhetoric. One only has to follow the money ...

And of course, then there is the lack of leadership. I think the #rememberkhwezi campaign said it all!

I loved what one caller said, "Enough is enough ... we have to bring this country to a stand still".

Maybe then people will get the message that black women's lives matter.

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