For certain sects of the South African population, abuse is a commonplace part of life. And while more is being done each year to spread awareness of the problem, there are still limited solutions and safe-havens for its victims. When the conversation of abuse is on the table, the mind generally jumps straight to domestic violence; especially to woman and children. There are, however, many other forms of abuse, some of them subtler than others, and because they are often not recognised for what they are, their victims rarely speak out about it. So to open up discourse with regards to these often unexplored areas, lets discuss the most common forms of abuse in South Africa.
Domestic violence is a form of abuse that has persisted in our country despite the substantial amount of discourse surrounding it. The victims of this type of mistreatment are often women and children, however they are not its exclusive sufferers. Domestic abuse can come down on men too, who might be unwilling to speak out against it out of embarrassment or fear. Because of this, there is no way to accurately determine just how widespread the problem is, making the national goal of overcoming abuse a difficult task indeed.
Abuse in Schools and the Workplace
Abuse doesn’t only happen behind closed doors, but can be found in schools and workplaces all over the country; except that when it happens outside of the home, it is given a far less severe term, bullying. This can come from bosses, teachers, co-workers or fellow students; and is often dismissed as relatively harmless. However, the mounting results of consistent mistreatment can be direr for the sufferer than most people care to admit to. Again, this type of abuse is not limited in terms of gender, age or race as it is often dealt out to victims indiscriminately.
Racism, Sexism and Tribalism
While sexism and racism have been persistent obstacles for South Africans, in receiving the most attention, there is already a lot of awareness surrounding these topics; they do, however, still occur (and members of all races and genders are guilty of it). Tribalism, on the other hand, is growing in severity and destructiveness as time goes on, and since plenty of attention is often given to sexism and racisms, it never gets the discourse it needs to be brought to light and dealt with accordingly.
The Social Injustice Warriors and the Spiral of Silence
The social injustice movement that speaks out against racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination have been good in theory, and have opened up discussions surrounding many abuse-based problems. However, the approach has been a double edged sword. Those who are from sects that were once considered victims consider themselves free from the consequences of displaying the behaviours they themselves fight against, since it is for a good cause, and in doing so, make victims out of those that they feel represent the problem. When doing this, heritage, culture, gender and wealth are proof enough for these social injustice warriors to take ‘action’ against people who genuinely have no need for retribution; making victims out of them while also making them look like they are in fact the problem.
Contact I Am Not a Mistake Foundation for Support
These types of abuse are common enough in our country, and the only way to lessen the problem is to meet it head on. If you, or someone you know is the victim of any of these forms of abuse, know that there is help and support out there. Contact the I am Not a Mistake Foundation today, or visit our website to find out more about how we can support you.