People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) recently brought recognition to the astonishing amount of domestic violence that occurs in South Africa. One in three South African men reported having committed rape, moving POWA to create an advertisement that sheds light on the high number of incidences in this area. The ad features an experiment in which a man plays his drums and in turn receives numerous noise complaints. In this same neighborhood a few days later, POWA made noise reminiscent of a couple arguing and engaging in violence. Astonishingly, unlike the drumming incident, no one reported any kind of noise disturbances or recognized the noise as an indicator of issues at hand. It is shocking to learn that community members did nothing to help the woman in jeopardy, but were quick to complain about something that posed no physical treats to themselves or other community members. Having learned this, it’s necessary we realize what we would do to help this situation. Would we help, though? Would we report the noise? Or would we stay silent, letting this happen, and reassuring ourselves that it’s not our business? It’s time to reconsider our roles as community members, actively supporting the idea that we can, and will, stop domestic violence here and around the world.
—PAVE Volunteer Kalina Seavecki