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Lord of the Flies 32

  • Date Submitted: 06/04/2013 11:34 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 54.9 
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One of the cornerstones of our constitution is the principle of non-sexism. As with other inequalities inherited from the past, it is an ideal that has to be worked for. In many communities men are still dominant. Not only are women treated as inferior, but they are often the victims of abuse, sometimes psychological or emotional but often brutally physical.

Despite the efforts of the government, the police and civil society, this country has the highest rate of rape in the world. On average, a woman is raped every 17 seconds. It has been said that a girl is more likely to be raped than to learn to read. Many of these crimes go unreported, as do other instances of abuse and discrimination.

One of the strongest forces for turning this around is the example of courageous women who have come through harsh experiences and risen above their difficulties. One such person is Iris Francis.

When her mother was displaced by her husband’s common law wives, she moved her many children from home to home in the Durban townships. There, at the age of thirteen, Iris was raped in their home.

Feeling let down by her family and victimised by her peers at school, early in her Standard 7 (Grade 9) year she ran away to Johannesburg. Sleeping in parks and lifts before she was taken in by a kindly Durban family, Lorna & Cedric Richardson, and earning her keep with odd jobs, she remained there five years before, now pregnant, returning to Durban.

As she describes herself at that time, Iris was ‘pregnant, penniless, jobless and educationless’. Yet by sheer willpower and determination, she began to turn her life around. She studied hard to get the education she had missed and, starting with the most menial jobs as a factory kitchen assistant, gradually won recognition for her abilities and worked her way up the ladder. She became Accounts Director for a major advertising agency, General Manager for marketing and tourism at KwaZulu-Natal Tourism, and currently CSI Manager of...

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