These prominent hashtags, conversations and movements have, in recent years, highlighted the grotesque effects and manifestations of Patriarchy. While these campaigns spoke about specific incidents and sectors of patriarchal violence in our society, there remains larger questions around our national consciousness; particularly that surrounding masculinity and violence.
#RememberKhwezi is one such marker of how we, as a society, have failed to be in solidarity and demand justice in the face of the abuse of power. The manner in which we, as a collective, responded to the grave injustices that Khwezi experienced is illustrative of our national consciousness that perpetuates and upholds patriarchal violence. It is also illustrative of the lack of political will, by our leaders, in ensuring Gender Justice in South Africa; a concern equally highlighted by the #EndRapeCulture campaign which problematised the normalisation of sexual violence.
The #MeToo campaign, initiated by Tarana Burke, is an international example of widespread demonstration against the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace. The campaign has emboldened survivors of various forms of sexual assault to share their stories and experiences, thus sparking an international conversation on the violence on patriarchy, and fluid, shape-shifting misogyny.
Responses to the #MeToo conversation were illustrative of how we, as complex beings, navigate this world differently as marginalised and intersecting identities. Even within the narrative of sexualised violence, there is a hierarchy of privilege and power. Within this narrative there is a construction of the “perfect victim” and often womxn of colour, queer folk and other minorities are silenced. This translates into whose voice is prioritised and whose is erased. It also perpetuates the subjugation of womxn and other marginalised groups.
Following the recounts of women, LGBTIQIA+ and other marginalised persons and genders, cis-men, in particular, have responded defensively in an attempt to delegitimise and police the discussion. Which begs the question, how is it that so many are still oblivious to the violence patriarchy wreaks on so many individuals within society? How do we then reimagine and collectively re-engineer a national consciousness that is characterised by accountability, justice and the full realisation of another’s humanity?
Using the Big Debate model of free-flow frank conversations and debate, carefully moderated by a facilitator who poses guiding questions to speakers who come from a variety of sectors; ranging from media, academia, corporate, religious and cultural groups, student movements, LGBTQIA+ movements, grassroots community movements, civil sector and government.
Join us in conversation which will allow us to think critically and reflectively on our national identity, how we as individuals fit into society and how we can reimagine it to achieve a more just, accountable and conscious society.
When: 20 February 2018, 17:00 for 17:30
Where: Gardens Commercial High School, opposite the IJR offices on 105 Hatfield street
For more information, please contact Danielle Hoffmeester