Monique van Vuuren, Westgate
A few years ago, the Plainsman provided me with a platform when my book, Secrets: Dark Suffocating Shadows. A Memoir for Liberation was published.
Initially the book served as an open diary which provided readers with a tangible space to become the writer of their own life story.
I had printed the books out of my own pocket, from savings I had accumulated through the University of the Western Cape’s work-study programme.
I donated the bulk of the books to high schools in Mitchell’s Plain.
That was the beginning of ground level or the beginning of grassroots social activist work for me. Later on I became active in work for Rape Crisis.
The rallying motto, “the personal is political” gave way to a ton of disclosures (of womxn) directed at me.
(Womxn is a progressive term that promotes gender inclusivity and intersectionality by shedding light on prejudice and institutional barriers.)
Now, I challenge myself and others to tackle the root causes of pain, in the reflections that look back at us in mirrors; pain that we recognise in the eyes of our sisters, mothers, fathers, friends, brothers and lovers.
Pain that courses through the veins of
our communities, pain that continually separates, breeds and bleeds forming a cesspool of hate and
an illusionary fate amongst POC that
we must accept that
the laws don’t work for us.
I remain inspired by France and the laws which make cat calling illegal.
While walking beside women in the #Enough is Enough March, I noticed how men
were gawking at
womxn and catcalling on the streets unperturbed by the fact that we were in fact #EnoughIsEnough comrades.
If we do not have respect in the streets, we won’t have respect in our communities and in our country.
Based on the public debate about the three life sentences for Uyinene Mrwetyana’s killer, I would like to call to the public, my local community to sign an existing online petition to make the sex offenders list public.
The call to sign the petition connects with a personal plight for anti violence toward womxn and children. I’ve personally tried to warn young women who are unaware that they are romantically involved with a sex offender who had raped a child. I found myself in the position of having to warn others after my
ex fiancé had raped a child who happened to be my neighbour’s little sister.
My neighbour’s sister also happened to be the mother of his newborn daughter, who was just months old when he had raped the little sister of his baby momma.
Due to the fact that he is a uniformed member and has family members working as civil servants he was able to avoid prison.
He merely had to devote time to community service, was under house arrest and consequently became listed in the National Register for Sex Offenders.
This lived experience has resulted in me experiencing many sleepless nights and questions swirling about in my mind.
Why are men who are registered in the National Register for Sex Offenders, allowed community service and house arrest without any compulsory involvement in anti-sexist and anti-gender based violence promotional projects as well as gender sensitisation and toxic masculinity reformation?
Is psychological and spiritual care work not of utmost importance if there is to be any true reformation of sex offenders who continuedto roam free in our streets and communities?
I know that spiritual care workers have recently been designated as service providers to the department of correctional services.
I am appealing to the public to sign the petition:
In my personal capacity, I am calling for support from my community to help
me amplify the civic voice that must appeal for all sex offenders
to undergo compulsory rehabilitation to ensure that accountability is taken by men who
have raped children.
The frightening reality is that sex offenders can be removed from the sex offenders registry without proper reform after five to 10 years.
My ex continues to roam in Mitchell’s Plain, like other sex offenders. When friends or acquaintances informed me that my ex popped up at parties
I try to warn women he gets romantically involved with about him being on the registry but, I can no longer tackle this mammoth task on my own.
I believe that personal revelation can make for constitutional and institutional amendments carried through by the #EnoughIsEnough gusto.
I sincerely hope
that what I have shared with you can be used
to convey the message that compassion is
the disruptor of oppression.