The horrific details of Karabo Mokoena murder

On the 29th of April Sandile Mantsoe is alleged to have killed his 22-year-old girlfriend Karabo Mokoena, before setting alight and dumping her body in a veld in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Hours before she was killed, Mokoena had a heated argument with her boyfriend in a Sandton nightclub that deteriorated into a fight. The couple left the club early and she was never seen alive again, Sandile (27) was then charged with the murder of the 22-year-old part-time student and defeating the ends of justice. A source quoted by TimesLive said, “He claims that he doesn’t know who killed her, but that he panicked and believed people would think he killed her. He said he stuffed her body into a bin, rolled it out and into his gold BMW and drove to his family home in Lyndhurst. He picked up a tyre, acid and a container and drove to a filling station to buy petrol which he used to douse Mokoena’s body.”

#MenAreTrash

Karabo’s death has sparked a social media outcry with the hashtag #MenAreTrash. The online conversation has given a platform for women to share personal and secondary accounts of emotional, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of men.

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One headline that added to the conversation was the harrowing ordeal of a 22-year-old pregnant woman’s worst nightmare on Monday. The woman, who is three-months pregnant, was walking home with a male co-worker at about 5am when they were allegedly accosted by a group of men suspected to occupy the abandoned building situated on 270 Lilian Ngoyi Road; a busy part of town.

Karabo Mokoena Photo: Instagram/kayfab_27

Joburg Central police spokesperson Captain Xoli Mbele said: “After being confronted by the suspects, the woman’s colleague was [allegedly] assaulted at gunpoint before she was dragged into the dark building where the gang rape incident took place. However, during the ordeal, the woman’s coworker contacted the police, who responded swiftly.”

Many have used the incident as validation of the hashtag observing that of a group of 11 men not one opted out or dissuaded the rest from the act. Research has also proved grim in the defense of men offended by the hashtag.

Read: The rape of South Africa’s children

A recent South African survey in province of Gauteng finds 37.4% of men confessing to rape, while 25.3% of women say they are victims. More than one in three South African men questioned in a survey admitted to rape. Researchers found that more than three in four men said they had perpetrated violence against women. South Africa has one of the highest rates of rape in the world. Last year a survey by the Medical Research Council (MRC) found that 28% of men in Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces said they had raped a woman or girl.

Rachel Jewkes of the MRC said: “We see a situation where the use of violence is so widespread that not only is it seen as being legitimate but I think quite often women forget it. They just see it as a normal effect.”

#NotAllMen

The #MenAreTrash hashtag was countered by the ever in use #NotAllMen that has in the past been used to counter discussions on violence or oppression of women. Men took to twitter to defend the race posturing that women cannot use such an all-inclusive hashtag and that it’s likely there are other sides to the story.

Certain stories were brought up as a result such as Sandile’s close friend of 16 years, Thabang Mlangeni, calling the accused a ‘humble churchgoer’ “I’m still shocked at the news,” he told Sowetan Live.  “I have never seen someone as calm as him; he is humble, a churchgoer and in the years I have known him I have never seen him angry.”

A piece written in response to what happened in December 31, 2016 to several women on the streets of Bengaluru has been used to explain away the #NotAllMen.

With excerpts such as, “Have you been with a friend who has done this and not stopped or corrected him? Yes?” And “Have you ever judged a girl to be easy because she wore a short dress? Or because she was holding a cigarette, or drinking too much? Yes?” it is clear that the threshold of violence and oppression against women spans more than just the act of rape and battery. It also includes the day to day interactions and overall normalization of abuse that has made these acts possible.

Yes all People

Whether you are in the #MenAreTrash camp or the #NotAllMen side the universal truth is all attitudes to violence and oppression against women need to change. Men must acknowledge the reality that women are forced to deal with on a daily basis and change how they interact with them e.g. Instead of being offended that a woman automatically finds you threatening due to your gender make it easier for them to be comfortable around you by addressing and fixing the things that make the interaction uncomfortable.

Women on the other hand must educate the men around them on the things that they find oppressive and uncomfortable, things that are the reason for the current “rape culture”. Educating the men in your life will create a chain of secondary education that can span large groups of men. If they are ready to receive it, give them as much information as possible.

Assuming one gender knows the plight of the other because “we are all human beings” means you want someone to perceive a reality they have never lived which for many is a quite a fete.