Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We should have all been there

I was driving past the local police station when I noticed a few people with placards, protesting about something. At first I thought its probably one of the usual protests; people complaining about poor service delivery, or something like that, but as I drove past I saw what was written on the placards and I felt really bad that I was not there with the handful of women who stood outside in the cold protesting against the rape of women!

I should have been there, we all should have been there, men and women uniting against something that I regard as the most terrible crime. A violation like no other, because it completely disregards the sacredness of a woman. “Mr President we did not vote so that women could be raped”, read one of the placards; “stop rape against women”, read the other, these words, so bold, so important, so profound, and yet so easily ignored!

Sadly, no one paid much attention to the women who were protesting, people seemed to be walking past as if it wasn’t a big deal at all. This is the level to which we have been desensitized and this is why we continue to accept this, even though South Africa has the highest rape statistics in the world.

But, this is not something that is unique to South Africa. No, all over the world, women and their bodies are used as targets. In times of war and unrest, rape of women increases, it’s like a tool that the opposing teams use to demoralize each other, and through it all, the fact that women are human beings is ignored. It makes me feel sick just to think about this. In some places, people are even given orders to rape women as a strategy to weaken their enemies. Such strategic abuse and violence against women, and no one does anything about it!

So why wasn’t there more of us protesting outside the police station. Why don’t we organize more of such protests, on a larger scale so that our governments know that we won’t accept crimes such as rape, so that harsher punishments get put into place for rapists, thereby making it more difficult for them to commit the same crimes again. Why? Because most of us deep down believe that this is not our problem, this is not something that we can do anything about, and unless we’ve been affected, we think it has little to do with us; we all probably agree that it's terrible, but we also tend to feel that we can't do anything about it- and it’s this very attitude that results in a handful of women protesting about something of major importance, and simply being ignored.

We are supposed to be living in a civilized world, yet we are faced with such barbarism. It’s simply crazy to think that this is still allowed to continue. But it will continue and continue if only a few people make an attempt to bring about some change!

We should have all been there, we should all be protesting against things that matter. We should be proactive. Rape of women, in fact any abuse of women should not be happening. Not to our neighbours, not to our family members, not to our country people, not to anyone in the world! Our voices might be small, but speaking out about these things is far better than sitting back and doing nothing. Dealing with issues such as these is not the work of social workers or community organizations alone, this should be the work of every single person.

The honour of a woman needs to be protected. There’s a story in the history of Islam that I’m sure many people already know. It goes something to this effect; a Muslim woman went into a shop, and the men there planned to dishonour her by letting her body become exposed, so they did something like tie her outer garment, and when she walked, some part of her body became exposed. What did the Muslim men of that time do? They did not say, “well there’s not much we can do about it, it’s already happened even though it shouldn’t have.” Or, “We all agree that its bad but all we can do now is send the woman for counselling and help her to deal with what has already happened,”-NO! They took action. They killed the man responsible for dishonouring a woman. I’m not saying that we should go around killing people, but this example shows us that taking action prevented this from happening in the future, it was a proactive step, and it probably saved many other women from been dishonoured. Now imagine if these men from that time had to find out that a woman was raped! What do you think they would've done?

I pray to Allah that this terrible crime could cease to happen, it’s not only me that I pray for, not only my sisters, or my friends, or my colleagues, it’s not only my country folk that I pray for, it’s for all the people of the world! I wish that we could get rid of this evil, and I pray that Allah Almighty protects us all!

May Allah make it easy for those people who have been affected by this evil crime, and for those who commit this crime, I pray for them too, I pray that Allah Almighty removes the evil from their hearts!


IMAGE FROM: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/99499

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