The assault of a female student from the University of Fort Hare, in a video that is making the rounds on social media, is quite chilling. The United Democratic Movement Women’s Organisation (UDEMWO) condemns the actions of the young man in the strongest possible terms.
Witnessing such an assault in the period where the country is celebrating women is even more heart-wrenching. This is a clear sign that South Africa is still far away from ending gender-based violence.
We live in a society where young men think it is normal to treat their female counterparts with physical and verbal abuse. UDEMWO believes that men who abuse women are cowards.
It is of great concern that the young woman will apparently not be laying charges against her partner, because it was the first time he assaulted her. This is often the way women excuses the men in their lives who are cruel and mistreats them. There can be no justification for this young man’s behaviour; at all.
We are urging women to come forward and report cases of abuse. No one is supposed to stay in an abusive relationship. You rather walk away while you still can than losing life and become a statistic.
There has to be greater societal pressure that condemns this kind of behaviour. UDEMWO has been calling for greater punitive measures to be meted out to those found guilty of such actions but we cannot achieve this if victims continue to withdraw charges against their alleged attackers.
UDEMWO also wishes to express our disapproval at the excessive alcohol abuse at what is termed bashes (how ironic a word) at universities and schools. There should be a total ban on alcohol on campus.
Ms Thandi Nontenja
UDEMWO Secretary General