MS. ZUKISWA WANNER is a writer, mother, feminist and activist. Having contributed no less than nine books as a novelist, children’s author, non-fiction writer and book editor, she is as prolific as she is funny and incisive. She is also frank, evidenced this letter, speaking directly to men who feel that they are under siege, in the wake of the latest calls for them to take responsibility for the rampant rape culture in South Africa.
Letter to My Brothers
One day I shall understand why men feel under siege, when it’s women who get raped; who have to cross the street when they see a group of men; who are most likely to endure corrective rape for loving other women; who are most likely to be killed by boyfriends and spouses; who are heading the majority of households with minimum wage (if that). Brothers, if this is your love for me and my 11 year-old boy then it hurts.
How do you make the fact that women are being raped on taxis ; that our underage daughters are having illegal videos of their bodies go viral online because you and some of our sisters are sharing them; that we are being threatened with beatings by steroid-laden men in allegedly child-friendly restaurants….When you decide that it’s all about you, brothers, it makes me grateful that I am not home.
It hurts like hell. And it hurts like hell to know you are my son’s uncles, fathers, brothers, cousins (see how I am not mentioning my daughter because I know she doesn’t count to you all?). It hurts to know, brothers, that you are the men he has to look up to when we visit. It’s less painful knowing he can escape, but hurts more knowing all the 11-year-old boys (and those 11-year-old girls you want to ignore) we leave behind cannot.
And they have you, brothers, men who believe they are under siege. Men who don’t like women enough to not make it about themselves, even when women are raped, killed and beaten.
This is an edited version of Ms. Wanner original letter, which first appeared on her Facebook page. Used with permission.