Close your eyes and imagine that for 24 hours, there were no men in the world. As a woman, what would you do and how would your life change on that day?

This question is a popular one posed to women across the world by Twitter user ‘feminist next door’ (@emrazz) a few years ago. Every year on December 24, to mark the anniversary of the first time she asked the question, she reopens the query to allow women to speak up about this hypothetical world.

The exercise is intended to examine the ways disparate gendered experiences affect the lives of women and is not meant to be construed as a claim that men are not necessary or are the only perpetrators of violence.

It is meant to speak to the lived realities of women every day, many of whom feel unsafe doing simple activities like walking alone, dancing at a bar/club or wearing a revealing outfit.

Here are a few responses from women around the world:

These desires don’t exist within a vacuum. It speaks to societal perceptions around women’s bodies and who has access to them. It also forms groundwork in gender-based violence (GBV), which has been seriously plaguing South Africa for decades.

GBV impacts almost every aspect of life and disproportionately affects women and girls. It is systemic and deeply entrenched in institutions, cultures, and traditions in South Africa.

This has gotten even worse during lockdown. Amnesty International recently released a report that found that GBV has increased in at least five southern African countries, including South Africa, during lockdown.

Picture: Pexels

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