#MeToo movement in South Africa & the rights of young women

#MeToo has become solitude for many women who have been sexually victimized. The movement has taken off internationally in the past year, more so in the entertainment industry.

During the last awards seasons, many television stars from Hollywood spoke up against men in the industry who sexually molested women who work with them. For a long time, we’ve heard about women having to give men sexual favours just to try secure a job.

This type of harassment is not exclusive to the international entertainment, but every industry across the globe. Young women everywhere are compromised because they are desperate for a job. Men in power, be it in government, tech or legal industries take advantage of vulnerable women who are desperate to secure a job.

When I started going to interviews, my aunt who raised me pulled out a chair and had the very cringe worthy but necessary conversation with me. She mentioned that, people often take advantage of young girls like me. And in the most delicate way, she tried to give me scenarios that can happen the minute you are left alone with a man in a boardroom.

Thankfully for me, and which I understand may not be the circumstances of many young women, my aunt reminded me that I must never be desperate for a job if it meant I must compromise myself. She urged me to always speak if anything of that sort ever happened to me. And that’s the type of energy we need right now to help those who have been victimized.

Recently, law graduate and television producer Nandi Madida spoke out about how she felt it was time to move the #metoo hashtag forward in South Africa.

It honestly is the time to create a space for young women in this country to feel safe enough to express their concerns. Many times, we hear stories about how men in power and in government who abuse their positions and resources to violate the rights of young women. Instances like in the tender acquisition process, men have absurd entitlement to the bodies of women before they can even give a fully qualified and deserving woman a job.

These men must be brought to book. Though activism through a hashtag may seem like a small thing, it brings about the necessary conversation of how to fight against the sexual abuse of women in the work place.

This young month, let’s encourage young women to speak up. Let’s create a safe haven for these young women entering the employment market to safeguard against being victimized.

In South Africa, we have seen how patriarchy continues to be protected. We must charge forth and fight against this system that seeks to make women sexual sub servants.

We will be keeping an eye on the #meToo movement developments in South Africa and all of Africa, and we will place ourselves in a position to stand hand in hand with the young women who come forward to share their stories.

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