SoHo recognises the work of Kuhluka Movement
Earlier this month, October 2016, The Saving Orphans through Healthcare and Outreach (SoHo) honoured our work as Kuhluka, awarding me as founder of the Kuhluka Movement. This is the 2016 Trailblazer Award in recognition of our activism work against domestic violence and abuse of women.
Also interesting to note is that this same month is the first anniversary of the brutal abuse that I experienced. This award serves as a reminder that the year has not been all doom and gloom, but that it has helped realise a cause that is increasingly becoming a voice for the voiceless.
I have learnt a few lessons in the past eight months, mainly that domestic violence does not choose whom it touches; it knows no race, or background. I have also learnt that in speaking out, we can mobilise ourselves to make a difference and play a part in stopping domestic violence against women. Even though the damage I have suffered has left a permanent reminder of the horrific abuse, I also cannot stand and keep quiet, because my silence will not change anything. But speaking out will help realise some difference.
Receiving the Trailblazer Award, at a ceremony held at the Ritz Charles Hotel in Carmel, Indiana, USA, I highlighted in my acceptance speech that it is important to begin to look at domestic violence against women as a women’s rights violation, and to address it with the same urgency. My position has not changed.
As I write today’s blog, at least five women across the world have been beaten to death by their partners. I wish I could call them out by name, to honour them and honour their last moments, which may sadly have been horrifying experiences of terror and fear. But I cannot, and so to those women I would honour them with this award. I hope that in this fight against domestic violence against women, we begin to recreate a society that is intolerant of violations against women, where priority is given in the courts of law, justice system and communities to stop gender-based violence and domestic violence against women, because it is unacceptable.
To another group of women, the survivors of domestic violence, your courage will continue to strengthen others and your voice will change the life of another woman. Let’s not keep quiet, let’s stand together and speak out, and stop the scourge of domestic violence against women.
The Kuhluka Movement is here for every woman, and will continue to be the voice of the voiceless. We will continue to work together with survivors of domestic violence. Also we will continue to work with cultural custodians, traditional leaders, traditional healers, religious leaders, community elders, civil society, stewards of culture, boys, men, fathers and celebrities alike to play an active role in putting an end to domestic violence. With these relationships we aim to work together in redefining those negative customary and traditional practices into positive social behaviour, to create an environment where women are celebrated, and loved in the true definition of love – one where love is kind, where love does not harm, where love is not easily angered, where love does not keep record of wrongs and where love does not abuse, or cause harm, or delight in evil but nurtures, cares, and holds dear to the heart, causing no harm, but protecting from harm.
I challenge you to make domestic violence your business. DON’T just sit and do nothing. We have a generation of girls and young women growing up in this society where one in three women across the world has suffered abuse, where at least five women die every day at the hands of their partners, where 75.5 % of men agreed that they had perpetuated gender-based violence in their lifetime in South Africa; we cannot sit quietly and say it is not our business. Where you see domestic abuse, be the voice of the voiceless, report these dire human rights violations. Don’t let a woman die because you didn’t do something.
For more on how you can take part, contact the Kuhluka Movement www.kuhlukamovement.org, send us an email on email@example.com or leave a comment on this blog. Do something – don’t just sit and do nothing.
Josina Z Machel.