“The late Karabo Mokoena’s beautiful smile has sparkled across my timeline for more than a week.
Her friends and family have been pleading for help finding her since her disappearance on April 28.
Then that smile was replaced by pictures of what’s believed to be the place where her body was burnt.
“The boyfriend confessed. He killed and burnt my daughter,” read a Facebook post by her father.
I can’t begin to imagine the rage her family and friends must be feeling.
Someone they trusted, who pretended not to know where she was, who “helped” look for her, had taken her life.
Here’s the reality: one in every four womxn in South Africa is physically abused by an intimate partner.
Every six hours a womxn is killed by a current or former intimate partner.
These numbers are shocking. These numbers aren’t dropping. South African womxn are under attack and they are afraid.
Battling to come to terms with Karabo’s story, womxn online began sharing their experiences of abuse and #MenAreTrash trended.
But of course, the louder womxn’s voices grow, the louder the challenge from men, and soon enough #WomenAreTrash was a thing.
Posts were shared where men schooled womxn on trusting too easily, on being more cautious, telling us how to live our lives.
Again, there was very little reflection by men on what womxn were saying when they uttered the words “men are trash”.
Will we ever get to the point where schooling aimed at men is as vigorous as the defence of them?
Men just aren’t being regulated the way women are.
It’s men who need the wake-up call.
It’s your sons, brothers and friends who need to be taught that they own no part of any womxn.
It’s your sons who need to be taught how to handle disappointment, jealousy, anger and manage their rage.
Is it our responsibility to make men feel more secure or masculine, to nurse their egos?
At the helm of the “not all men are trash” declarations were the most worrying of them all: the woke misogynist.
The woke misogynist is the guy who talks loudly about gender equality and whose vocabulary is made up of all the right words, he calls himself a feminist – but is the same one outed for assaulting and belittling his partner.
While we were basically being told that, as South African womxn, we should be grateful for the opportunity to see another day, there was this immense amount of shared pain for the Mokoena family, known and unknown families that have lost their daughters, the families who are still looking for their daughters and every womxn who has had their fear of being the next victim trampled on by the woke misogynists who rose up in defence of the brotherhood.
While you think that you’re one of the good guys and will never lift a hand against a womxn, there are so many ways in which you inflict pain on us.
Making us doubt ourselves, our beauty and our worth.
Take a moment and think about how you, as a man, picked at a womxn’s confidence with things you deem to be little mistakes and misunderstandings, how you violently broke her confidence down.
Guys, we don’t just fear that you’ll rape and kill us, we also fear that you’ll abuse our kindness and trample on the sparkle you once saw.
That’s why we’re saying #MenAreTrash, dear woke men.
Stop being defensive and listen… Listen carefully and hold each other accountable.
Womxn are afraid”