Where are the fathers?

We know of the thousands of youths that rose up to take on past injustices, even at the cost of their lives on the 16th June 1976. History reminds us of 20 000 women of all races that marched to the Union Buildings in 1956 in unified protest against the pass laws... But I ask myself often, where are the fathers? Our nation is falling apart. South Africa is notorious for the high levels of women and children abuse and has been branded as the uncontested “rape capital of the world”. The horror and shame is not just in the globally recognised stats that a woman is raped every17 seconds in South Africa, but in the absence of our real men to protest in these times.

Where are the buffers who will rise, if not for the women, then for the children? I hear the women crying and feal their sorrow in their tears. Their anguish fills me as I receive letters from our readers, sharing their secret terrors of lives shredded by the violent effects of years of senseless abuse or rape trauma. Again, the silence of the men echoes heavily. Where are the men protesting for the rights of their women and children?   

We see ripples of men attempting to filter and affect change in society, but we need more vocal catalysts if we are to see change. We don’t have an army of fathers who are ready to draw a line in the sand and say enough! Unfortunately, there are many men out there who are good fathers and exemplary role models, but they are not taking an active stand against their fellow men who abuse their power and position. As the saying goes, ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’ How many more lives need to be forcefully removed and violated before men take the lead against this injustice?

I recently found myself in a personal conflict, deciding whether or not to talk to and educate my six-year-old daughter about rape. I caught myself wanting to teach her to sit, play, dress, walk, look and talk in a certain way to try and avoid being raped. Such vocabulary seemed inappropriate for a bouncy little girl, but in a fatherless nation, nothing seems to make sense anymore. Old grannies and their grandchildren are being attacked and raped in their menless homes. Regardless of how many times we tell our women that they have equal rights and liberties, and that they are free to dress and act in any way they feel comfortable, there is still a stigma attached to a a woman’s dress code. If she wears clothing that is too short, too tight or too revealing, she is looking for unwanted sexual attention. The education of our nation begins in the home, with our fathers teaching our sons how to treat the women in their lives. Our boys need to be mentored and learn that a girl and a woman is not property, but a being to be cherished and respected. And they cannot learn this without first learning to love and cherish their own bodies. 

The situation is beyond critical and South Africa has long passed the warning stages. It is time for drastic intervention; men need to stand up and take note… and act! Our nation is bleeding at its place of intimacy. Where are the mothers and fathers who will take a stand and do all they can to protect their children? South Africa, just what do we have to celebrate on this Father’s Day as a nation? I for one have the greatest example of a father and I know first-hand the importance of a dad, especially to his girl child. It is for this reason that I am provoking fathers to resume their rightful place in our society. If ever we needed dads. it’s now. Are you there? Please talk to me...

I love you, Papa!

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