Debate on 16 Days of Activism for no violence against women and children:
Count me in – Together moving a non-violent South Africa forward
Speech by Cheryllyn Dudley, MP and Whip
Because one of the most heart-wrenching forms of violence against Women and Children, is sexual violence I thought you may find this thought provoking discussion thread - between a Human Rights Advocate and a Media Correspondent- interesting. The context of the discussion is the distribution of pornography via the internet in South Africa.
The Correspondent starts off saying:
“...wish our constitution actually worked for the people...when they can actually police streets, have a justice system that works, and cut out all corruption then you can start talking about effective ways of limiting certain kinds of online material, within reason.”
The Advocate responds saying:
“...Porn is probably the most pervasive way of devaluing human beings...It is in our view at least as important as the concerning issues you have raised.
Pornography sends out a culture shaping message about the value of human beings...some in society may have established internal value systems and may be able to reject the narrative. Others, however, are profoundly affected and society - usually the most vulnerable - pay the price...”
The Correspondent says:
“I hear you, yet I would say that the most pervasive way of devaluing humans is to have them starve, with no proper education, with no hope for the future, with no employment.”
“What you mention says the Advocate, are the fruits of devaluing - once we have stopped valuing each other properly, we will let these things happen to each other.”
The Correspondent replies that: “It starts with family values...very few (people)”, he says, “have even got access to the internet. The prevalence and culture of rape and abuse in our country need fixing well before regulating online porn.”
“Actually”, the Advocate points out, “on 2016 stats, South Africa is the 20th largest porn consuming country in the world but Number 1, for accessing porn via smart phones. And according to research, porn (consumption is in fact) a cause of sexual violence.”
To say that porn has no influence on SA's rape and sexual abuse stats, is irrational to say the least. The determination shown by the department recently in not allowing this issue to even be considered - and the disinterest of MP’s in the matter during deliberations on the Films and Publications Amendment Bill has been disappointing for the ACDP and many others who recognize the connection and the danger. It is however indicative of why South Africa has such a huge problem with sexual violence against Women and Children.
The real question should not be “which measures are too little or too much to combat sexual violence”, but What do we value and care about most?
If the answer is “being entertained and sexually aroused” then we are surely on track - if it is “protecting and reducing the risk of women and children becoming yet another victim of sexual violence” we must rethink the issue of pornography and ensure it does not have the free reign in society that it presently has. In this way we will demonstrate our commitment to NO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN and not just pay lip service to it once again.