The hashtag #MenAreTrash saw women tell scary and sad tales of abuse at the hands of loved ones and strangers‚ while some men have responded with #NotAllMen.
A woman by the name of Alexandra Buki Deen shared a thread of tweets about how she survived an attack by a man who kidnapped her.
She explained how the man grabbed and forced her into his car‚ threatened to kill and rape her if she did anything “stupid”.
Deen said that she was terrified and knew that the only way out was to jump out of the moving car‚ which left her with bruises and broken teeth.
“Jumping out of this car was my only way out. Because he was still holding on to my arm‚ the car dragged me for a few seconds. When I opened my eyes I had to get up and run”
This is a thread about how I survived death #MenAreTrash
Frame1 morning after
Frame2 morning before pic.twitter.com/NeHyeg4MRD
— Bukelwa Moerane (@BukelwaMoerane) May 11, 2017
While the anger against South African men escalated‚ some replied that that #NotAllMen were violent towards women.
“I cannot endorse that #MenAreTrash as I was raised by an amazing‚ loving father. What I will say is that some humans are trash‚” said TV personality Nandi Madida.
Some men came out in defence of the #MenAreTrash brigade saying that the saga is not an attack on masculinity or personal morality but an outcry from women.
“Instead of standing up and defending women‚ we fight #MenAreTrash. Proving that #MenAreTrash” tweeted Sipho Cossie‚ @Dr–SA–Cossie
— Cossie (@Dr_SA_Cossie) May 11, 2017
Spoke to my gran about this whole #MenAreTrash thing.
She laughed and said "Sweety, the only thing that's changed is now women speak up."
— Maharani of Killarney (@AaleyaOmarJogi) May 11, 2017
Our sisters are crying out #MenAreTrash and our response is "not all men are trash". This is pathetic!!!
— Bob "The Jammer"Mabena (@mabena_bob) May 11, 2017
How do we expect men to be better individuals when we keep painting them with the same brush? #MenAreTrash msunu wakho Sandile
— ang'sayfuni (@Mandac5) May 11, 2017
How do you even fight #MenAreTrash ? Black women die, get raped on a daily basis and wena you're concerned with ukhipha iphela emasini?
— Nokukhanya (@NalediChirwa) May 11, 2017
According to Unisa Sociology expert‚ Dr Nokuthula Mazibuko‚ “there is no question that in South Africa‚ violence against women is widespread”.
“The forms of violence include attempting to strangle‚ verbal abuse‚ imposing severe restrictions on freedom of movement‚ as well as sexual violence‚ which includes forced sexual intercourse and other forms of sexual coercion.”
However calling men trash could be damaging‚ says Sarah Findlay‚ programme coordinator in the policy and quality unit at Media Monitoring Africa.
“#MenAreTrash could be damaging to the original cause of the hashtag by steering the conversation away from the movement (to highlight violence against women) to one which centres on men defending themselves against generalisations. It could also be damaging to women who have experienced and continue to experience this kind of violence‚” she said.
However the two hashtags appear to have sparked real debates among friends and families about the complicity of men‚ even those who call themselves good guys.
Many who told their stories of violence referred to how they were asked what they had done to prompt an act of violence.
A 2016 report on Victims of Crime by Statistics SA‚ found that one in every four women faced violence from within their own homes and relationships.