Lindokuhle works as the Youth Engagement and Programme Quality Officer For Restless Development South Africa, and is a member of the UNFPA Youth Advisory Panel advising in the design of youth-friendly policies and programmes.
As part of International Elimination of Violence Against Women Day she talks about gender based violence in South Africa…
As a young woman growing up in a small province in South Africa, having my own views and strong beliefs about violence against women has been difficult. Fellow peers and those who are supposedly much wiser have drilled the belief that violence against women is normal; a man beating a woman they are relationship with signifies love and a sense of submission as we have been taught that women are meant to submit to men.
Trying to change these beliefs and stereotypes meant fighting and going against a social norm. It meant one is a deviant and has no understanding of what love is. It is only just recently that people are warming up to such ideas and understanding how demeaning, selfish and tormenting this act is. It has been wonderful to also see more programmes, including our Peer Educator programmes in the rural areas enlightening people on such issues and I must say, people are warming up and getting a better understanding on the gravity of gender based violence. Things will not change overnight and it takes an entire community to verbalise and mobilise others to get a better understanding.
It would be great to see South Africans, mainly our people in rural and marginalised areas, becoming more acquainted with the idea. Gender-based violence is degrading to women and violates their rights. It is up to every single perpetrator to “man up” and stop abuse and for every victim to not be afraid to speak up; it is their right and they do not have to settle for anything that breaks them down mentally, physically and emotionally in the name of love and “respect”.