Home Opinion and Features Unmasking the darkness: Confronting violence and seeking light

Unmasking the darkness: Confronting violence and seeking light

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OPINION: Violence against the most vulnerable members of our community persist. We cannot afford complacency. Our courts wield sentences, but we must wield empathy, education and intervention.

Picture: DFA

IN THE quiet corners of our society, where shadows linger and hearts ache, two stories unfold. They are narratives of pain, betrayal and the irrevocable loss of innocence. These stories, separated by geography but bound by the thread of violence, force us to confront the darkest aspects of human nature.

1. The Brutal Murder of an Ex-Girlfriend

In the arid expanse of the Northern Cape, a man named Dawid Baster etched his name into the annals of infamy. His crime: the brutal murder of his ex-girlfriend, Elmarie van Wyk. The details are chilling – a frenzied attack in her own bedroom, where love once bloomed. Fourteen stabs, each one a betrayal of trust, extinguishing a life that once held dreams and laughter.

The courtroom echoed with the weight of justice as Baster received his sentence: 22 years behind bars. But can any sentence truly capture the magnitude of loss? Elmarie’s absence reverberates through her family, her friends and the community. The blade that silenced her laughter left scars on their souls, too.

As we grapple with this tragedy, we must ask: What drives a man to extinguish a life so violently? Is it rage, jealousy, or the twisted remnants of love? And what of the justice system – does it heal wounds or merely contain the damage?

2. The Toddler Beaten with an Electric Cord

In another corner of the Northern Cape, a toddler’s cries pierced the air. Galeshewe – the backdrop for a different horror. A stepfather, nameless in our narrative, wielded an electric cord as a weapon. His target: a defenceless child. The two-year-old’s screams echoed off the walls, a symphony of terror.

The court’s gavel fell, and the stepfather received his sentence: 10 years. But can we measure the impact of those blows on tender flesh? The scars might fade, but the trauma lingers.

As we grapple with this tragedy, we must ask: What drives a man to raise his hand against innocence? Is it frustration, impotence, or a twisted sense of power? And what of our collective responsibility – do we create a society that nurtures compassion or one that breeds cruelty?

A Call to Action

These reports are not isolated incidents; they are symptoms of a deeper malaise. Gender-based violence and femicide persist, staining our nation’s conscience. We cannot afford complacency. Our courts wield sentences, but we must wield empathy, education and intervention.

Let us unmask the darkness, not only in courtrooms but in our homes, schools and communities. Let us teach our sons and daughters that violence is never a solution. Let us stand as sentinels, guarding the vulnerable and demanding justice that heals rather than merely punishes.

In the quiet corners, where shadows linger, let us be the light that pierces through. For Elmarie, for the beaten child, and for all those whose voices were silenced – we owe them a better world.

ALSO READ: Man gets 22 years for brutal murder of ex-girlfriend

ALSO READ: Stepfather sentenced for beating toddler with electric cord

Ruth E Renkel reminds us not to fear shadows: “Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining somewhere nearby.” Picture: DFA
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