Talking to the wrong people 2

Rape (and gender-based violence) is one of the biggest problems we have in South Africa.

The figures:  

60 000+ reported cases a year

As little as 1 in 20 rapes are reported (NICRO).  That is 1 200 000 (one million two hundred thousand) rapes a year. 

Even if we conservatively estimate 1 in 15 rapes are reported, we still have close to a million rapes in South Africa every year. 

That means one rape every two minutes.  Think about it… at any given moment in our country someone is forced to have sex against his/her will. This includes children and babies.  

South Africa is the place in the world, with the highest incident of child and baby rape.  WE are the World Number One!  This is the most dangerous place for children in the world!  These beautiful, warm, friendly rainbow people…. rape their children and their babies. 

There are 3 actions required:  Prevention, Response and Victim Support.  

Response and Victim Support are both actions that we can figure out easily.  There is logic to response and support.  But how do we prevent?  How do we stop the hundreds of thousands of rapists from raping?  How do we stop our boys from growing up to rape? 

Does it make sense to ask a rapist:  “What does it say about you that you have to force someone to have sex with you?”  

How do we teach boys to respect girls, when some of our cultures still favour the boy-child over the girl-child?  Perhaps rural communities come to mind and yes, it may be true that women do not enjoy the same rights, powers and authority as men, in traditional, rural areas.  But is that not also true in some Afrikaans communities?  In Churches?  In our society at large?  Even in our modern, Western culture, is it not true that men earn more than women for the same port-folios?  

Does this mean that gender-equality is at the heart of the problem of rape?  Then why do we rape our children?  I can hear some readers’ protest:  “I don’t rape children!  Don’t count me in that number!  Don’t say “we” – I am not part of the group of people who rape children!!”  That’s good.  But it is still us.  It is still South Africa, our people, our nation, our problem.  

My suggestion is that we will have to look at the many different rapist profiles individually and reach each ‘kind’ of rapist, before we reach them all.  Not all rapists are the same.  There is the boyfriend, in love with his girlfriend (almost as much as with himself) who gets so turned on that he refuses to take ‘no’ for an answer.  There is also the sadistic prowler that goes on the hunt for a rape victim.  There is the Wolf Pack that will commit heinous acts of sexual brutality as a group, that the individual members would never do on their own.  There are men, who get sick and depraved when they are drunk and rape in a state of intoxication.  There is the pornography addict, the angry masochist who uses his penis and his strength to mask his feelings of inferiority and inadequacy.  There are husbands and boyfriends, who believe their partner’s body is theirs for the taking and she has no say in the matter.  The portfolio of the Rapist is a large and varied collection of differently motivated attackers.  But this they have in common:  They do not respect the sanctity of the body of a woman, or child and they over-value and over-estimate their own importance.  

Some people say that men rape, because they can.  They rape because they get away with it.  This is sadly true.  One million rapes lead to 4 500 guilty verdicts.  99,5 % of all rapes go unpunished.  This must stop. 

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