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Minister highlights women abuse at celebrations

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Many women sought help from her while she was serving as the chairperson of the ANC Women’s League

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THE MINISTER of Basic Education Angie Motshekga (pictured) highlighted the prevalence of women abuse during international Women’s Day celebrations that were hosted by the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) at the Mayibuye Centre in Kimberley at the weekend.

She indicated that many women sought help from her while she was serving as the chairperson of the ANC Women’s League.

“They were coming to me in numbers telling me that they were being raped, which means that there is a problem. Our women who are already burdened with poverty and inequality are crying that they and their children are being raped.

“A deeper problem lies between skewed power relations that can be extremely dangerous and this leads to women becoming victims of rape. They carry the scars for the rest of their lives. Rape is about hatred and power.”

Motshekga pointed out that perpetrators of rape also became victims by having to serve time in jail.

“Harsh sentences are not discouraging men from rape. Research shows that rapists typically have a difficult relationship with their mothers during their formative years. We need to educate our children with social skills so that they do not become lifetime victims. Power relations are destructive, it is not a proud title to be called the capital of rape.

“Education empowers women and we need to make the necessary progress to raise the consciousness of women. The way we treat our women, children and the elderly is indicative of the stage of development of our country.

“Sons do not allow anyone to touch their mothers but they beat their own wives.”

Motshekga believed that women would never be truly emancipated unless they were free from the shackles of violence, poverty and inequality.

“We are the pillars of a home and yet women continue to earn less than men – about 61 percent are living in poverty and 39 percent are destitute.”