* Seth Naicker says men have to intentionally arrest misgivings about the rights of women and children. *
We live in communities where women and children are highly at risk, every day. We can quote the stats, read the research and search the web, but simply hanging out at your local police station on a Friday night will confirm the social reality of the prevalence of women and child abuse in communities across our country.
I am grateful for the opportunity afforded to me to begin a journey of seeking to understand the pressures that women and children are exposed to in our country. My learning has been with women as my leaders, mentors and critiques.
My wife, Merrishia, has boldly exposed me to the voices of marginalised women and at-risk children in our society. She has shown courage to chip away at my well-established concrete arguments that I had, have and may still pop up in the future concerning my judgments, stereotypes and lack of consciousness as it relates to gender and age differences.
I have a passion for the work of social justice and reconciliation, but I must acknowledge my tunnel vision in and amongst a society that has encouraged me to develop within a very patriarchal, macho, cowboys-don’t-cry attitude and bias with regards to the rights of women and children. I am a result of my upbringing and I have to intentionally arrest my social misgivings as it relates to the rights of women and children.
I have come to realise it is important for men to take a critical look at the assumptions we have of women, and how we treat women and children in our lives. I believe my wife will vouch for my learnership and intentionality in seeking to be a man who acts justly, loves mercy and walks humbly in faith. I believe that my wife may even suggest that I am a man that is not a worst-case scenario, compared to the villainous acts of violence that are heaped upon women and children in our society.
What about those men who are in a worse-off position? What about those worst-case scenario types of men who actively, intentionally and militantly unleash their physical, emotional and verbal abuses upon women and children? What about that young boy who thinks it is okay to bully girls? What about the young man who thinks he’s justified to force himself on a young woman? What about that adult man who thinks it is ok to beat his wife and physically abuse his children…?
It is my hope that men who can hear, see and empathise with the plight of women and children who remain at risk in our broader local and global society will stand up and courageously stop such violence. It is my hope that women who have the power of voicing, reasoning and advocating courageously for the rights of women and children will continue to do so through every platform afforded them.
May our young boys, young men, adult men and older men find mentorship and learning that re-configures our mental wiring, and propels us in into the labour of love to ensure that young girls, young women, adult women and older women are safe, cared for, respected and honoured in our society.
From a man trying to be real about the pains that women and children face in our society.