The charade called 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence has come and gone. It seems fair to conclude that South African women — especially women who are victims of gender-based violence — have lost faith in such campaigns, which do not gain much traction.

In the media, which perfected the art of making women sex objects to be used as sales tools, activism from women is muted. The newsroom is a patriarchal platform; many women in media work for misogynists and just grin and bear it.

How do you explain a lack of activism where there are so many women talk-show hosts yet there are horror stories of sexual harassment in so many newsrooms?

Look at the SABC, for example — so many towering women hosts there, yet so much sexual harassment. At least the new board has had the courage to investigate, but we have yet to see whether the predators will be brought to book. Early in 2018 a female presenter at a Gauteng radio station called a fellow female presenter and broke down on air about sexual harassment at the station. There was never an investigation about that — the same accountability is needed in private media organisations. There is, however, an absence of activism even by some of the most articulate talk-show hosts in places like this — that is why it is easy for management to fail to account for their acts even as the media calls everyone else in society to account. Stories in the television and music industry are disgusting, where women actors are asked for sexual favours in return for career advancement. The sex-for-jobs habit has become a modus operandi of many workplaces and the abusers go about their business ...

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