Johannesburg, South Africa, Aug 24, 2020 -- "He told me that there will be moments when men do get angry and I must understand that men get angry and when men get angry they beat up women. He said it was what he had experienced in his own household. And I lived in that space for almost eight years."
These were the painful words shared by Nthabiseng Montsho-Mngoma a gender-based violence (GBV) survivor speaking during the City of Joburg launch of Ithemba 24-hour Substance Abuse and Gender-Based Violence Crisis Line in Marshalltown on Friday.
This was part of the city’s Women’s Month programme, which aims to address GBV and femicide.
Montsho-Mngoma, the founder and director of Soul Inspiration SA and a TV host on Moja Love and Soweto TV, said she was married to an abusive pastor for eight years until one day he wanted to kill her in front of her children on December 15, 2008.
She said on that particular day he threw one of the children against the wall and hit her with a fist and she started bleeding "and this is the day I said enough is enough I fought back for the first time, and I beat the hell out of him".
Montsho-Mngoma said while growing up she was told: "Never ask a man about his whereabouts and every time things happened (abuse), I was told that I must not talk about things that happened behind closed doors and that they must stay indoors."
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She said after leaving the marriage, her family told her to go back because "ngumtshado wakho lowo" (It’s your marriage).
She said she refused and that was the time she became homeless, said the woman who professed that she has now dedicated her life to empowering women.
Launching the helpline, Joburg mayor Geoff Makhubo said "we have a twin pandemic ravaging our society - that is, GBV and Covid-19".
"If indications are true, we might be seeing the flattening of the Covid-19 curve. Unfortunately, we cannot say the same about the GBV pandemic curve. It is not flattening.
"The rape culture that exists in South Africa, where sexual violence is seen as the norm and rape victims are shamed and made to feel responsible for the attack, did not form itself. It is an outcome of generations of excusing men’s entitlement to women’s bodies. This is what must change regardless of whether the violence is fuelled by substance abuse," said Makhubo.
He said the call centre would be staffed by professional social workers and social auxiliary workers.
They will have the capacity to follow up on calls and provide the much-needed psycho-social support and referrals.
"The greatest success in the fight against GBV and femicide will be when future generations feel they do not need to make use of the programme we are launching.
"We must dare to dream of that day and work hard to ensure that the dream comes true," said Makhubo.
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Published: Tuesday, August 25, 2020
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