Professor Pumla Gqola says she hopes her new book exposes the global culture that fuels the onslaught of women.
First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.
“By the time I arrive for this class at 9am, I’ve already fought 100 wars” is how one of Professor Pumla Gqola’s students describes navigating the catcalling, threats of violence and sexual harassment that many women living in South Africa are all too familiar with.
This constant harassment often results in women avoiding certain areas at certain times. It means women have to take precautions to avoid being physically and/or sexually violated, such as sharing their location when they travel or walking in groups.
In South Africa, a woman is murdered every four hours.
The ubiquitous fear that many women have to live with is what Gqola, the director for the Centre for Women and Gender Studies at Nelson Mandela University, describes as the “female fear factory”.
Gqola coined the phrase in her seminal book, Rape: A South African Nightmare, which won the 2016 Alan Paton Award.
In her latest book, Female Fear Factory, Gqola writes that this factory is “a theatrical and public performance of patriarchal policing and violence towards women…