According to the World Health Organization, one in three women will experience gender-based violence in her lifetime. This is a staggering statistic, and it’s time to start speaking out about it and make a change. Below are a few poems which speak against GBV.

Each poem tells a unique story, but they all share a common message: that we must work together to create a world free from violence.

Kenneth Maswabi

Tear down the anger in your hearts

Put on a robe of peace and love

Wear a smile in whatever you do

Remove jealousy from your thoughts

Polish your heart with the best love herbs

Sit down with your partner

And cherish the absence of violence

Respect each other’s individuality

Hurtful words are as violent as a hail of fists

Black eyes and broken ribs are never a sign of love

Too much expectation is never a sign of love

Reckless invasion of privacy is never a sign of love

Insecurity is never a sign of love

Caring is a sign of love

Respect is a sign of love

Love has no burden

Love has no pain

Love is a beautiful existence

Say ‘No’ to gender based violence

Zakalia G Longwe Jr

End Gender Based Violence

Gentlemen banish violence,

We have been stung by the scorpion of bad luck,

The sorrow destroys our intellectual,

It is the struggle of day by day,

The thing we need to change because it complicates our way,

Disputes must not be settled with fights,

Besides, we all have the right to protection against unfair treatment.

GBV is a challenge to our world today,

Brings about demoralizing and long lasting kick in the teeth,

Storm of fire and a life changing tragedy,

Disproportionately affects our economy,

Spits poison, talks to us in threats and builds fear,

Strikes on us a blow of misfortune,

Passes a cycle of scarcity, deprived wellbeing and lack of culture to the minors.

Women in this act are as helpless as a pangolin in the wild,

Not because they are weak,

But because they are neglected of the right to be strong,

As if men never do anything wrong,

Women are being under ill treatment,

Put in state of illiberal,

Like they are illicit,

As a nation we have to stand for their rights,

We shouldn’t rest even a single night,

To arrange for our nation a future that is bright.

Voice Of The Silent Man

By Thobo Tomeletso

I row and I row with a silent voice … voice of a silent man

Thunderstorm! Storm! and Lightning!

Cutting thoroughly through throats of ruffled families

Families of a mother

Families of a father

Silent voice of the Man

Fathers are no more fathers but feathers

Yes feathers to wipe the dust, dust due to unemployment

Unemployment is no empowerment so don’t undermine

A poor man who is to be a man to maintain a mandate to be a man

Voice of a silent man

From Human to Human and humiliation

Dishonesty Disorder to Destruction

Destruction to Deformation

Voice of the silent man

Make her not a punching bag Rather buy yourself a punching bag

No Woman No Human No Child is your punching bag

Gender equality is not gender inequality

Listen! The Silent Voice of a Baby crying

Babies are not substitute for baby mamas

React! Respond! Respect! Retrospect! And Be Responsible,

Yes, I’m talking Remedy to Rectify and End Gender Based Violence

Gender inequality is no base of comfort

The Time Is Now …… Now is the Time

Voice of a Silent man! Yes! Voice of a Silent Man

Finding Freedom

By Wadia Samadi

I wake up every morning scheming my escape
But what about my children?
Who will believe me?
Who will give me a home?
Years go by and I am still waiting
When will this end?

My makeup does not cover my bruised face
My smile does not hide my haggard visage
Yet, no one comes to help
They say: it will get better
They say: don’t talk about it
They say: this was my fate
They say: a woman must tolerate
Don’t air your dirty laundry, they say.
When will this end?

Once again, he drags my body to the floor
He chokes me and I beg him not to kill me
Once again, he demands my silence
Once again, he tells me I don’t deserve to live

I have had enough
I will not be silent
I will live
I will find freedom
This will end today.

They Have Killed Sizakele

By Jessica Horn      

For Sizakele Sigasa, AIDS and lesbian activist, murdered with

Salome Massoa, 7 July 2007, Soweto

Where is she

in this land of crushed stone?

Where is she

as morning dresses the day

in the dirtied lace of tired gospels

Where is she

our sister Sizakele

in this brittle dawn?

White powdered faces

ululate against an unremarkable sky

as bullets tip the minute hand

…one, two, three…

collarbones crumble

…four, five, six…

Here where sun chases starlight

here in heartbreak’s wilderness

here she is

embroidering morning dew

beading our memories

in the red and rainbows of militancy

Here in this theatre of slaughter

she is clearing a round of clay earth

intoning a litany

calling for a witness

You say: it is not our tradition

She says: is this your tradition

to rip the pulse from my chest

to deny a mother the dignity of dying first?

You say: in the name of the father and the son

She says: in the name of my sisters

slain in meaningless massacres

for loving their own skin

A people do not survive

monsoons of oppression

only to savage their own kin.