City Waldorf Cares hosted a seminar on the problem of violence against women titled “Break the Silence” at City Waldorf Student Accommodation on Saturday.
City Waldorf Cares, a charity unit associated with City Waldorf Student Accommodation led the discussion on the abuse suffered by women and the factors that allow the abuse to continue.
Mbuko urged women to understand their strengths and weaknesses and then work together to fight against abuse and the stigma that comes with it.
Different Forms of Abuse Need Equal Attention
Mbuko says abuse can take place in many ways. She noted that both physical and psychological abuse deserve as much attention as physical abuse.
She gave the example of stalking, a form of psychological abuse which is often ignored by those who are meant to help the victim.
Stalkers enjoy tormenting their victims by constantly observing and threatening them to instill fear and make them feel as if someone else is in control of their lives.
RELATED STORY: About 1500 members of the UJ community march against GBV
Nomfundo Mavimbela, one of the audience members, said that simply feeling afraid by something done to you was enough to qualify it as abuse. “Anything that makes me uncomfortable. Anything that threatens my safety, I say is abuse,” Mavimbela said.
With the wide range of psychological abuse that exists, Mbuko addressed the need for people to be aware of intimidation, discrimination and threats.
Differences Do Not Equal To Weaknesses
Another speaker at the event, Charlotte Nkuma expressed that the core teaching of Christianity is not to make women feel inferior to men but to shed light on their different roles in society. “The misinterpretation of the scriptures in the Bible has been the problem,” Nkuma said.
One other person echoed Nkuma’s sentiments. “The only thing that will get you through abuse is the purpose,” said Tshephang Kekana.
Be Nice and Find the Strength to Survive
The program director Bonisile Katamzi felt that women need to treat each other better and that would set the precedence for how they are treated by men.
“Make it a part of you to be loving and appreciative of others,” Katamzi said. “We are the ones name-calling ourselves; we are the ones degrading ourselves. We have shown men how to treat us.”
Few people raised their hands when Katamzi asked the mostly female audience about the level of appreciation they as women have for each. “Any form of compliment means a lot for a woman,” said Mpho Mogashoa, one of the participants.
Katamzi said that women need to use their inner strength to survive the aftermath of abuse. “Be violent with you soul: tell your soul that we are [going to] fight through this and do not let yourself to be driven by abuse,” said Katamzi.
Katamzi also stressed the importance of understanding that anyone a woman trust is capable of abuse. “Even friends can abuse you, not just men because friends can also identify your point of weakness,” said Katamzi.
City Waldorfian Cares hosted the event in celebration of women’s month.
Feature image courtesy of Nelisiwe Ginya.