by Paulina French

“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women”  Maya Angelou

As we approach August, which is often referred to as “Women’s Month” in South Africa, I wonder how many women and girls are truly free – free to be themselves without fear of being sexually assaulted, intimidated or abused in any way.

Look around, observe your daily environment: your workplace, your home, your community, your school. Are women seen as equals or are they second-class citizens in these environments?

Women need strong men to stand up against any form of discrimination or sexual violence. Our country needs the voices of strong men to speak out against the abuse of women and girl children. Our girl children need fathers in their lives who will set an example of what to expect from any man, most especially in the way they treat their mothers. We need men to be strong, to be supportive and respectful of all human beings. To treat others with dignity. God creates us all in love and we are all equal. Let us be symbols of God’s love by treating all humans as we would want to be treated – whatever their gender.
Thank you for your love of humanity.
Help me to be strong enough to support men and women;
Working to make our country a better place for all.