[Svrilist] Fw: JACOB ZUMA #role model for men against the abuse of women?

svrilist at mrc.ac.za svrilist at mrc.ac.za
Tue May 16 13:16:22 SAST 2006

JACOB ZUMA —role model for men against the abuse of women?

Psychologist Ron Kersa looks at the lessons of the Zuma affair

So Jacob Zuma did not violently force his complainant to have sex.
Does this excuse him from being labelled an abuser of women? And is he a good role model for men?
My answer is no, to both these questions. Let us look at them in turn.

As to the question about whether he is a good role model for men —well, for one thing, he preached one thing, and did another (did not use a condom). We all know that. He wants us to believe that was his only sin, was the only thing he apologised for. But there is more he needs to look at . . . 

He gave us the impression that the young woman was acting in a seductive manner, “asking for it”, titillating him sexually . . . and that this was a change from the usual way she was with him.
She wore a short skirt, made seductive comments, etc. What was a man to do?

This is the spirit of malehood that Zuma imparted implicitly during the trial —and maintained that attitude during his press interview the day after the judgment:
“What can a man do? We have hormones! When a woman who looks like that comes on to us, asks for it . . . well, what do you expect us to do?”
That is the nature of being a man that Zuma imparted to us —implying not only that he was one of those males, but that it is okay to be one of those males, that “cannot control their hormones”.

As a real man, I find that an insult to me.

Of course, I am assuming his sex act was intended as a quickie, a one night stand.
But Zuma sometimes subtly suggested during the trial, according the judge, that there was a change in their relationship that fateful day. What is he suggesting? That they were falling in love, that this uncle-niece (psychologically) relationship was now changing into a relationship between equals who were thinking of starting a committed relationship?

Wow! To think (I say with tongue in my cheek), that if she had not cried rape, perhaps they would have been lying together in bed next morning, and talking about seeing each other again, developing an ongoing relationship, perhaps leading eventually to a marriage. I don’t think so!

So whether it was just intended to be a quickie, or whether he was getting into a serious relationship, I think he was acting in a pretty dumb manner, and I feel abused as a male (and one who is no prude or conservative sexual moralist) that such an image of my species should so easily, facilely, be presented to the people of the SA nation firstly, as if it were normal, and secondly, that even if normal, that it is totally acceptable, excusable.

I feel abused as a male that a role model for society presents an image of my male-dom as weak, unable to discriminate, led by his prick. The image is one of males not being able to see clearly that in certain situations, sex is clearly not appropriate, is not what should happen, will ultimately be bad for her, bad for me.

So, what I am saying is that, whether intended as a quickie, or a “falling in love”, in both these cases, he should not have done it. Just because a woman “asks for it”, it does not mean we have to “give it to them”. And just because a woman is falling in love with a much older man who is a daddy figure to her, does not mean that older man should indulge her feelings —but should rather confront and question her about her inability to have peer relationships, and perhaps her pains and wounds about previously losing her own real father, etc. etc.

At least, for a man over about 40, I would expect such discrimination (though so many much younger men of any age have it anyway!). But when a man Zuma’s age does not understand this most basic principle, I do not think he has credibility sitting in a high position where one is expected to be wise about the basics of sexual politics, about awareness of the subtlety’s of abuse of women (just as racial discrimination can be very subtle, abuse of women can be very subtle too!). 

So, to summarise, I feel abused by the image of males that Mr. Zuma has implicitly portrayed here, and have to say, like those who opposed George Bush in the Iraq war: 
Not in my name!!! 
You are not speaking for me!!!

Let us get to the other point. I am suggesting that his sexual act, even if not rape, was an abuse of the complainant —simply by the very act of having slept with her.!

In cases of real incest, where a parent of either sex may have sexual encounters with their own children, the damage is done, to put this in the most simplistic terms, because the parent, who is supposed to be there for the child, and serve its needs, is now wanting the child to be there for the parent, and service the parent’s needs. Once that happens, the child loses a parent. A child whose parent has sexually abused it, no longer effectively has a parent. It has a “lover”, who is really a selfish one-sided “rapist” (entering without permission). It’s real parent has evaporated into thin air, and replaced by an abuser, possibly a rapist!

Now I suggest that Zuma committed what I will call here “psychological incest”. It seems clear he was either a father substitute to this young woman or seen as some sort of good uncle, someone who would care about her well-being in general areas of life (e.g. would help if she had no food to eat, accommodate her if she had no place to stay, etc. etc.). By “taking” something from her, instead of being there for her, he changes the nature of the relationship into one where there is an expectation that whatever he provides, he should be given something in return. Where there was unconditional love before, there is now an expectation of mutuality set up . . . “I look after you, and in return I get certain favours from you”. Whereas before there was no expectation that the one in power is given some return gratification from the needy one, now there is . . . and it is a serious one, sex!!! (it is not “mowing the lawn”). 

In this act of “psychological incest” the child loses her previous “good uncle”, who no longer exists for her as a parent figure, a purely supportive background, a solid underlying foundation. She gains a “lover” but “loses a parent”. 

Ah! But perhaps some would argue that they are entitled to enter into such a contract — where I, for example, pay for your education, and you “give me sex”. But this is a form of prostitution. That is to say, this is symbolic prostitution (and some people suggest that some marriages amount to little more than this). Of course, prostitution is legal, but I don’t think we want people in high places to subtly suggest to us that it is acceptable, an ideal to strive for! We need people in high places to encourage us to develop higher, deeper, wider relationships than just prostitution —relationships where we get to know and love each other for the authentic persons we are!

What is missing in these liaisons of “prostitution” or “psychological incest” is the genuine love and care for the other person outside of one’s own needs. To be truly human and caring, in the higher, rather than the lower sense (of being “human” and therefore “limited”), is to be able to ask: 
Does the other person need this in their life right now? 
Does this woman need, or even want this right now, from me, what I am offering? 
Perhaps she herself does not know what she really needs? She may feel she wants some thing, but does she really need it? Is this a good thing for her to have right now?
Sure, I want to screw the daylights out of this woman right now! But is this what she needs? Will it be a good thing or a bad thing for her, irrespective of how gratifying it will be for me, sexually or in any other way?

So, whether this young woman was asking for a quickie, or asking for a serious, loving relationship with an older man, it was abusive of Zuma to give it to her, in either of those cases. 
(I have been, simply for argument’s sake, assuming that somehow the complainant asked for what she wanted, and Zuma agreed to “give it to her”. But, of course, it is still entirely possible that in fact she really did not, that he forced her, subtly, to have sex with him). 

She, obviously an emotionally churned up young woman, did not need to have sex!
She needed unconditional love, a listening ear, a compassionate heart. A man of Zuma’s age should know that already, but if not . . .well, please, please, I beg you, citizens of SA, do not put such a man in a leader’s position that involves education about relationships between men and women, for truly, I believe he is far, far from ready for this. 

I also want to suggest that, apart from the act of sleeping with the woman, that the spirit in which he answered the questions in his interview with the press the day after the trial was, inherently an abuse of women! So though his words were literally that he is against the abuse of women, his attitude was abusive. There were subtle giggles about male psychology, about female nature.

Zuma suggested that this poor confused young lady needed help. She probably does, and he knew that before he slept with her, I would suggest. What he failed to do was to acknowledge that it is he, himself that needs help. He is not some poor lonely sexually frustrated man who cannot find himself a sexual partner. A man in his position usually has quite a choice if he chooses to exploit it. He is thus not that needy that he had to exploit this situation of what seems to be an obviously naïve and vulnerable young woman. He has no excuse for his lack of discrimination in this matter! He needs help in learning about discrimination, needs to learn that sometimes even sleeping with a woman who “asks for it” is an act of abuse!

Jacob Zuma needs to apologise, not only about the condom story, but for sleeping with that girl in the first place. He needs to realise: 
“I am sorry I slept with her! It was stupid of me! I thought only of myself! I did not think about what she needed! In retrospect, this female did not need yet another male using her body for his own gratification. Clearly, she is looking for love and confusing it with sex. I, as older man, should have tried to show her that the love she was looking for does not come about from sex, but from confronting the issues in her heart”.

When Zuma can authentically do that, he will have corrected what he has called his very human “mistakes”. His interview with the press the day after the trial suggested to me that he truly did not even know what his real mistakes were. I hope this article will help raise his consciousness about those. Men in power should be wary of women who see power as an aphrodisiac, and who thereby fail to deal with their deeper identity as persons.

Zuma tried to give an impression of honesty, and he thankfully was honest —to a degree!. I suggest he is either not fully honest with himself, or he is blissfully unaware of his unconscious abuse of women —in much the same way that many white persons are blissfully unaware of their subtle racism. It’s all a matter of consciousness-raising. I hope this article has contributed to that.


"Never Underestimate the kindness of your fellow Human Being".

Mr.Tshipinare Marumo
Information & Resources Manager
People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA)
Tel: +27 11 642-4345/6
Fax:+ 27 11 484-3195
Mobile No: +27 73 297 5267
Email: info at powa.co.za
Website: http://www.powa.co.za
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