Actually love should never hurt. Especially not the kind of pain that fists can inflict. I have been a social worker for 11 years now. More to the point i have been a social worker who deals with victims of sexual and domestic violence, in a country that has one of the highest rates of violence against women and children in the world. Its a fact. Women and children are not safe in South Africa. So who are these perpetrators? Who are these masked boogie men? They are our fathers, husbands, lovers. They are our brothers and sons. They are also the ones who inflict the most terrible pain and destruction. They break spirits and destroy souls. If you, like me, are lucky enough to be in a functional relationship with a caring man, be grateful. Be so grateful that you are able to experience what a good man is like. A man who never lifts his fist to you or beats your children. Because there are good men out there. They exist. They are the fathers who show their sons that you dont need to beat a woman to make her love you or that men can cry. They are the men who dont look away when they witness a child being hurt by another man. They are the men that restore my faith in the male gender.
I have two sons and every day i am aware that i, with their father, am responsible for shaping the way that that they view gender relationships. What i do today shapes their relationships of tomorrow. And i know that this is not only about the words i speak. It is about the road that i chose to walk, as the most influential woman in their lives. Well, as least at this point. I need to show them that i am strong, that i am able to carve out my space, that i can support myself, that i am not dependent upon their father. I need to show them that women can work for a living, have a career, change the world. I need to show them that women can be powerful, but still have the space to be vulnerable. I need to show them that i stay with their father because i love him and want to be in this space and not because i cannot leave. I need to show them that fidelity and monogamy is none negotiable. That marriage is about commitment. This is a tall order. One that i am trying to deal with step by step, every day.
So today, wherever you are spare a thought for that woman or child who feels like a trapped animal. The one that cried themselves to sleep last night. The one that feel that there is no hope. The one whose spirit and soul is as battered as their face. And heed the call. Act, dont look away. The future depends upon the actions of the good, as much as the actions of the bad.