The lead article in today’s Cape Times, Manny vs Floyd in City? (Cape Times, January 13), refers to the event as a “dream fight” for the Cape Town Stadium. The article lauds the two boxers, Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquia Friday as “the world’s top two glamour fighters” and Grant Pascoe, Mayco member for Cape Town tourism, events and marketing, is quoted as remarking: “It would be a major coup for the city should the fight materialize as it would be major exposure for the city.” The article also reports that Floyd Mayweather Jr is to serve a 90-day sentence for domestic violence in June this year.
We ask, why is it that the Cape Times, the City of Cape Town and the general public think it is acceptable to valorize a man convicted of domestic violence? Why should we want an abuser in a boxing ring in South Africa, and why should we treat him as a “glamour fighter,” thereby holding him up as a role model for young people?
In December every year, during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign, we wring our hands and politicians clamour to be seen to be making grand statements about what needs to be done to prevent violence against women, but then rapidly go back to ignoring and/or trivializing the problem.
The Cape Times’ report normalizes domestic violence, subordinates it in importance to the glamour of a contact sport and belittles domestic violence survivors’ experiences. It seems the very least that we can do, if we are serious about combating violence against women, is to say no thanks to Mr Floyd Mayweather Jr and his ilk, and to call on the Mayco to stop this glorification of an abuser.
Phyllis Orner and Leslie London