Bishop: Rise Up Against Attacks On Women!
After the spate of brutal attacks on women, including rape and murder, BISHOP VICTOR PHALANA is calling for a change in attitudes, calling on women to rise up and men to change their ways.
In the face of gender-based violence, I want to cry out. Let this cry be read in the parishes, in our Catholic families, catechism classes, youth groups, men’s groups and women’s groups.
There will no end to gender-based violence until women stand up and speak out. Women warriors must stand up and fight for their rights. They must take girls with them and teach girls to reject male domination and patriarchy in all its forms.
Protect yourself against men who enjoy embarrassing you, humiliating you, calling you derogatory names and sexually harassing you. Refuse to be threatened and intimidated. Get the person who threatens you and who intimidates you to be arrested and dealt with by the courts. Do not keep quiet, report bullies and stalkers — because you have rights. No one has the right to abuse you. No one has the right to force you to be intimate with him.
May God help us men to be freed and delivered from toxic masculinity and cultural norms that encourage the exploitation of women. May God free us men from this belief that we own women and that they are our property. May God free us men from the spirit of jealousy and possessiveness. May God free us men from the spirit of control: The need to control women and their finances, their dreams, their resources and their worth.
May God free us men from our abuse of power and authority which tries to keep women oppressed and unequal.
Time for Change
Oh… We belittle women; we discriminate against them; we force ourselves on them; we are deaf to their “No! No! No!” We feel that we have a God-given right over their bodies and their destinies. We rape, we kill, we dehumanise women and girls.
We can change our beliefs and attitudes. This is a time of metanoia. The mistakes and crimes of the past must be replaced with respect and sincere apologies. Replace violence with non-violence. Replace abuse with affirmation, protection and respect. Defend women and girls.
Teach the boy-child respect of women. Men and boys: Fight alongside women and girls against women abuse!
We men must take responsibility for gender-based violence in our country. We must change. We need to change and have healthier ways of relating.
Report abuse and report domestic violence whenever it shows its ugly head. Let us together create safer places for women and girls. Enhance their safety and security. Let the laws against gender-based violence be tougher.
I support no bail for rapists and murderers. I support life-sentences for rapists and murderers. This madness must stop! (Ephesians 5; Phillipians 2:1-3; Genesis 2).
• Bishop Victor Phalana is the head of the diocese of Klerksdorp.