Gender violence

How will our society be measured on corruption?

Rita* fled the Democratic Republic of Congo to South Africa in 2009 after suffering unspeakable horrors and grave violations to her rights amid ongoing violence. The department of home affairs immediately recognised her as a refugee but when she was asked to pay a large amount of money to receive her refugee permit, Rita refused…

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The powerful politics of love

South Africans have woken up each morning for the past month to the intimate politics of love (and loss) on their television screens and newspapers pages. The death of Reeva Steenkamp and the ongoing trial has placed questions of love and how we love at the centre of the social consciousness. Although unrelated from the…

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Men that rape are our fathers, lovers

By now, people are familiar with why men rape. Yes it is for power and control, it is a means of exercising masculine entitlement and privilege and it is a means of displacing vulnerability. For me, the more interesting question is: How do men rape? How is rape enabled within our homes, communities and societies?…

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Queers and men with blunt instruments

So I read the very short “Queer” by Courtney Bassett and was drawn to the “idea” of it, best expressed — I thought — through prim lips:   People tell me how lucky I am It was not forty years ago I was being declared Mentally unfit Never mind the lobotomy I would rather have…

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Spreading hate in the name of God

For 10 minutes or so, the Wits Art Museum resembled a Pentecostal revivalist meeting. Hands were raised in worship as the crowd swayed and sang hymns. On stage, two pastors lay their hands on the person kneeling in front of them, the subject of their passionate prayers. This was not supposed to be. Not because…

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Shaming rape survivors and other bull

“What a week for women! First, two of the (very few) prominent political mavens became kissing besties and then spectacularly not, and then that rape-cry-baby Michelle Solomon made a scene and had to be put back in her place by a good ol’ cigar-smokin’ man like David Bullard (for a bet it turns out, classic!)…

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Oscar Pistorius and how Valentine’s Day kills

Today is Valentine’s Day — a day when capitalist consumption and heteronormative myth-making are in full swing: red roses (for the women, of course), images of happily-ever-after coupling (mostly of a heterosexual bend), and the coming together of brand “Hetero-Love” in a frenzy of consumerism and schmaltz. This day is yet another consummation of a…

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Bullard vs Solomon and the unwritten rules for speaking about rape

With its dredging of historical slights and recycling of resentments nurtured over time, Team Bullard vs Team Solomon has all the hallmarks of a grudgefest. This personalised process of verbal pushing and shoving has not only diminished the sort of ethical public sphere needed for discussion of sexual violence, but also endorsed uncritically the unwritten…

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Breaking my Bullard silence

Say what you wanna say and let the words fall out I wanna see you be brave. There I was driving along Witkoppen with Jacaranda on the radio — for once, I was a classic shooter curtain cliché — and those words struck home. So here I am, being brave — or stupid — and…

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Asylum seekers and bridging the gap in mental health

*Selam sits nervously in my office, lost in thought. In tears, she recalls her brushes with violence and terror since leaving Ethiopia in 2009. She has been diagnosed with a major depressive disorder, manifested by the continual abuse. She is one of many people being helped by Lawyers for Human Rights’ pilot project, funded by…

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