In pursuit of my African Dream – my heart is breaking . . .

With reference to my blog yesterday (In pursuit of my African Dream – my heart aches) and an article in the Cape Argus tonight “Answering for Injustice” – DA demands an explanation for courts turning away women in need of protection (page 6).

I would like to say thank you to the DA spokesperson for women and children for:-

• Slamming the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities for her response to the matter, saying it was inadequate.

• Questions she (the DA spokesperson) will be submitting to the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities in Parliament to determine what interventions her department has made to ensure the protection of all women.

• Questions she (the DA spokesperson) will be submitting to the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development in Parliament asking what steps the Minister will be taking to ensure that all women who go to court will receive the assistance they need. I agree that the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities must take “personal responsibility” for ensuring that women are protected and that the Minister is also responsible for ensuring that the activities of various government departments are co-ordinated to protect and promote the rights of vulnerable groups. For the Minister not to do so, would undermine her department’s very reason for being in existence.

As I continue to read the very same newspaper, I turn the page and see the following headline: “US man abused SA children” – Peace Corps volunteer used his position to prey on young girls. Can you believe this? The article goes on to say the following:-

• He (the man from the US) has admitted he sexually abused four young girls while serving in South Africa.

• He faces up to 30 years in prison for sexually abusing the girls while serving at Umvoti Aids Centre in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

• He pleaded guilty in the US District Court to travelling from the US to ENGAGE IN ILLICIT SEXUAL CONDUCT WITH CHILDREN. Can you believe this? Was this his intention when he came or did he just suddenly “get the urge”?

• Authorities say the victims (I call them survivors) were three and six years old at the time.

• He was supposed to be helping young children in need, many of whom were orphans but preyed on them instead.

I really don’t want to sound like someone who hates men (because I don’t) – I know there are some good men left in the world (they are just getting more and more difficult to find, these days), but because it is mostly men who prey on females (children and adults) I must ask this question: “WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?”

Please help me to understand what is going on inside your head to make you want to do something like this to A CHILD!!!!!!! If you really have to rape, molest, sodomise, sexually assault etc, why not pick on an adult?

I am definitely not condoning violence against women of any age, but to do this to a child? WHY??????

I really need to understand what goes on in the mind of a man who does this – I hope someone reading this blog can explain this to me, please?

I have done 2 years of Psychology, been part of a rehabilitation group for sexual offenders, have resumed my studies, and still I have not found one person (male) who can give me a logical explanation for abusing a child. What goes on in the mind for a man to cross the line?

As mentioned earlier, I have resumed my studies to become a Criminologist because I seriously need to understand this phenomenon. What causes a man to see a child as an object merely there to satisfy his need for power and control? Let’s face it – sexual abuse has got very little to do with sex itself – it is all about having power and control over the one being abused.

A child? A precious child who needs to be nurtured, loved and protected? A child who loves unconditionally and only asks to be loved and accepted in return? Once a child has been violated, he/she is never the same again.

The innocence and unconditional trust of those known and unknown is lost forever. The child looks at all males older than him/her and wonders “Can I trust you or will you also hurt me?”

The child (Psychologically) will live forever behind closed doors – physically, the bedroom door which was always open and unlocked will now be kept closed permanently (the child might become obsessive about this, resulting in all the doors in the house always being kept closed), the child will have experience great difficulty and anxiety in being alone in a room with a male (whether a peer or an adult), even cousins, uncles, fathers and grandfathers will be looked on suspiciously – the child will always wonder “can I trust you or will you also hurt me?”.

Whenever a male speaks the child will wonder “what do you want from me – do you also want to do XXXX to me?”

The child becomes a teenager, then an adult – but through all these life stages, the child carries the trauma of what happened when still a child . . .

What are we doing to our women and children?

If you have any insights to my questions, please leave a comment to this blog, alternatively . . .

E-mail: womendemanddignity5@gmail.com

Website: http://www.womendemanddignity.co.za

Justice delayed is justice denied!

In pursuit of my African Dream – my heart aches!

Big story in Cape Argus Wednesday 27 June 2012: Lady Justice lets down the most vulnerable.

The story revolves around the findings that women who seek protection from the courts for domestic violence and assault must ensure they are at the court by 05:00 (5am) already because only the first 20 people who arrive are assisted on any given day. If you are no. 21 you have to turn around, go home and return the following day.

Hishaam Mohamed of the Western Cape Justice department said there is no such “quota”. He said there is no such limitation at all. Everyone is assisted until the last one or the end of the day, that’s the official policy. He said he would need to investigate this “quota” system and take the necessary action against the relevant official(s).

The Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities will be launching a National Council Against Gender-Based Violence in August this year. Part of its objective is to co-ordinate a national response to gender-based violence and to close loopholes within the system to ensure the safety and protection of women.

In the meantime, what happens to the countless women who are turned away from the courts on a daily basis? What about these women who have to return to the abusive homes they are seeking refuge from? These women are forced to return to their abusive partners without receiving any assistance from the courts. Some of these women are faced with life or death situations and require legal intervention immediately. Delays in serving protection orders undermined attempts to prevent domestic abuse.

According to the spokesperson of the Women’s Legal Centre said 80% of women who visit their offices report that they were turned away from the courts. Most complaints received were about Wynberg, Phillippi, Mitchells Plain, Bishop Lavis, Cape Town, Goodwood, Bellville, Blue Downs and Khayelitsha courts.

The problem with the above mentioned scenario is that Mr Mohamed and the Minister (with all due respect to both) probably have never been in an abusive situation so they don’t have a clue what abused women have to endure at the hands of their abusers. One more day delay means nothing to them but means EVERYTHING to an abused woman or child.

Justice delayed is justice denied . . .

I’m just saying!

My African Dream – I’m just saying . . .

We have once again come to that time of the year when there is a battle for public servants to get a reasonable and fair salary increase. The “fight” always extends beyond 1 July which is supposed to be the implementation date. Instead, public servants have to be satisfied with a single digit increase which, most of the time, equates to only approximately 1% REAL increase and which usually has to be back-dated to 1 July.

 This year is no exception. Once again, Treasury has only budgeted for a 5% increase which they know from previous years, no public servant (via the Unions) will be willing to accept. Everyone complains that public servants earn inflated salaries. This may be true of the President and all his men and women (Ministers, Deputy Ministers etc) but not for the lower levels of staff.

Administrators and others on lower salary levels must always be grateful for the “crumbs” which fall when, without the administrative support staff, offices will crumble (no pun intended). Are administrators and other support staff not worthy of being rewarded and acknowledged?

The State never runs out of money and is never over budget when it comes to giving the President and all his men (and women) their annual increases. Fraud and corruption continues unabated, high-ranking officials are suspended (with pay) for months  – I could go on, yet a long song-and-dance is made each year when public servants need some reward or recognition for the hard work they have put in. Mind you, I have to acknowledge that not all public servants work equally hard, but on the other hand, maybe if they did not have to fight each year for an increase, they might consider actually “going the extra mile” for a change.

The excuse this year is that anything above 6.5% will mean a lack of services to the poor, derail job creation and increase expenditure. This is according to the new Minister of Public Service and Administration, Lindiwe Sisulu as reported in the New Age (newspaper), this morning.

When I think of the millions, if not billions of rand wasted by our government each month – besides what has already been mentioned, there are all those public events (sometimes costing millions) and other fruitless and wasteful expenditure which hampers service delivery, derails job creation and lack of services, I’m left wondering “who is fooling who?”

The State always has  money to “waste”, so why not spend less on public events and paying people for sitting at home, using public funds to do so, and spend more time on those who actually come to the office each day in an effort to provide services to the poor, do the work they are actually being paid to do and the increased expenditure will then be fruitful rather than wasteful and fruitless.

The headline in the Cape Argus last night “SA offers $2billion to IMF (International Monetary Fund)’s firewall” to try to prevent the European debt crisis spreading.

. . .  and yet there is no money for a salary increase for public servants?

What a wonderful world we’re living in. The rich get richer and the poor? Well, they just get poorer, I suppose.

 I’m just saying . . .

My African Dream – The price of freedom . . .

On Freedom day this year (27 April 2012) the President of our country announced that 14,651 sentenced offenders would be released conditionally or unconditionally and approximately 20,855 probationers and parolees would be freed. The final 3,800 prisoners in theWestern   Capewere released today.

Since the release of the first batch of prisoners, 47 prisoners (nationally) have already re-offended and are back behind bars for violating the conditions of their remission of sentences.

One woman admitted that she deliberately re-offended so she could go back to prison because she had no support system at home and without a job and a home to go to, she felt she would be better off if she went back to prison.

What a shame – why did Correctional Services not prepare these prisoners for release? Why did they not do home visits to ensure that the home environments they were sending these prisoners to would be enable them to reintegrate into society and family life with the minimum amount of stress? Did Correctional Services even bother to ask the prisoners if their support structures at home were adequate and would it enable them to reintegrate into family life?

Did our President stop for one moment to think about the consequences of his actions? Did our President expect the Correctional Services officials to blindly execute his instruction or did he expect them to say “hold on, Mr President. Releasing these prisoners is not that simple”.

With the high unemployment rate in our country, was it wise to release all these prisoners into a society and community which cannot even provide jobs for those without criminal records and matriculants?

What has happened to our planning skills? Don’t we know how to plan anymore? Infrastructure is falling apart because regular maintenance has not been factored into our planning and budgeting. Health care and our Education system has fallen apart because no Succession Plan was put in place when our knowledgeable and senior skilled people were retrenched or put into “early retirement”. 

For the last number of years, people have chosen to work in silos, so when somebody is off work for whatever reason, there is nobody to step in and fill the gap until that person returns. Everyone wants to be an “expert” and a Manager – nobody wants to get their hands dirty anymore. Even our matriculants have said on national television, “I did not get my Matric certificate to clean toilets”. In some overseas countries cleaning toilets and sweeping the streets are the highest paying jobs you can find. InSouth Africa, however, it is the complete opposite.

Some people have left the country out of sheer frustration of having the knowledge and skills and not receiving any recognition for it.

Coming back to our prisoners recently released (pardoned) – do they have marketable skills? Have they learnt a trade while in prison? Do they know how to prepare a CV and how to market themselves? Do they even know where to start looking for a job? Have they thought about what they want to do once they are released? Did they have time to think through all these questions before being released?

So many unanswered questions, yet so few (if any) questions are asked. Why?

Where are we going as a country? As individuals? Do we only live for today and forget to dream about tomorrow?

In the words of the late John Lennon:

You, may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world