IN mid-February 2001, a peeping Tom was reported around the women's quarters at 3SAI in Kimberley. Instead of notifying the military police and the battalion commander, my platoon commander and another lieutenant (both female) manipulated the men of Echo Company to take turns guarding the women's compound – without official orders, equipment or authority to stop, question, search and detain suspects. Despite my misgivings, I helped draw up the duty rosters and took my turn to guard.
For the weeks during which men watched the women's compound, not one woman did guard duty, nor did any of them so much as thank us for sacrificing two of our 6¾ hours of sleep to keep them safe from 11pm to 5am.
Within two years of that incident, I responded to two acts of domestic violence, where a boyfriend hit his girlfriend and a husband beat his wife.
In neither case did the women press charges, thus putting me in situations where I could have been sued and even charged with unlawful arrest and detention by the perpetrators because I stopped the beatings! And no, those women didn't thank me.
Over the last few weeks, Kazeka Mashologu Kuse has called for establishing women-only restaurants, branded men "invaders" and now wants men to castrate other men who are merely accused of rape and spousal abuse, and accused most members of the male species of being rapists because statistics say so. But do they? No.
In fact, she referred to a poll of some 2500 men in which about 28% said they raped – hardly a national plebiscite, even assuming they told the truth.
All polls based on samples of the population reflect only what those polled say. Thus, an online poll in which 90% of respondents indicated they trusted security firms more than SAPS does not mean all South Africans mistrust the cops – just those with internet access, who chose to vote in that poll (I was one of them).
Brent Cunningham allegedly beat his girlfriend; some young scumbags raped, mutilated and murdered Anene Booysen and Oscar Pistorius stands accused of shooting Reeva Steenkamp.
Through this, media and The Herald especially, have repeatedly published opinions of members of public and politicians who lambasted all men for the inhumanity and cowardice of a few. Worse, The Herald lost all semblance of objectivity and did not publish dissenting views and analyses of the spousal abuse crisis, instead allowing the sexist, hysterical vitriol to run unabated.
I say this because I protested Kuse's sexist call for women- only restaurants and took issue with the withdrawal of the charges against Cunningham, but The Herald did not publish either the SMS or subsequent letter.
I am a man – I do not tolerate abuse and have no respect for abusers, irrespective of their gender. Yes, women also rape and abuse. I have done everything in my power to fight against this scourge, risking my life and freedom when victims declined to press charges after I intervened.
Do not brand me a rapist! If she of "Unspoken Thoughts" wants rapists to be castrated and abusers regarded as guilty before being proven innocent in court, then she can cut off the sex organs of Cezanne Visser and of the Grahamstown boarding house owner who allegedly had sex with underage boys – if she has the stomach for the job and is willing to be treated the same!
Print it, don't print it – I don't care. In my eyes, The Herald's editors proved they have become bigots who incite gender hatred and prejudice to sell newspapers.
M Negres, Port Elizabeth
THE Herald regularly publishes letters from Negres. His recent letters and SMSes were not deliberately ignored. At present we are flooded with SMSes and letters on this topic and other current events, and are unable to publish them all. – The editor