In pursuit of my African Dream, a 17 year old young lady is gang raped by 7 boys aged 14 – 20.
The rape is captured on a 10-minute cell phone video and spread via viral media. It is alleged that “the girl could clearly be heard crying and pleading with her attackers, who repeatedly rape her. The boys apparently offered her R2 to keep quiet. The video allegedly showed several acts of penetration as well as the boys joking around and encouraging each other while talking about whether the victim was crying or not”. (News24.com).
According to website: http://www.rape.co.za/
• It is estimated that a woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning how to read.
• One in three of the 4,000 women questioned by the Community of Information, Empowerment and Transparency said they had been raped in the past year.
• A survey conducted among 1,500 schoolchildren in the Soweto township, a quarter of all the boys interviewed said that ‘jackrolling’, a term for gang rape, was fun.
• More than 25% of South African men questioned in a survey admitted to raping someone; of those, nearly half said they had raped more than one person, according to a new study conducted by the Medical Research Council (MRC).
• It is estimated that 500,000 rapes are committed annually in South Africa. • A 2010 study led by the government-funded Medical Research Foundation says that in Gauteng province, home to South Africa’s most populous city of Johannesburg, more than 37 percent of men said they had raped a woman. Nearly 7 percent of the 487 men surveyed said they had participated in a gang rape.
My opinion . . .
• Rape is not about sex it is about power and control over the survivor/victim so a sex change/castration for perpetrators is not the answer.
• I would question males between the ages of 14 and 20 still being referred to as “boys”. By the age of 14 they are well on their way to manhood and can surely not still be referred to as “boys”?
• Rape is learned behaviour – not something we are born with so the question is: “where did they learn this behaviour?”
• Survivor – her life will never be the same again. Innocence lost (actually stolen from her) possible mistrust in the opposite sex for an indefinite period (if not for the rest of her life? Problems with all future relationships? Problems with sex and intimacy in future? Self doubt, feelings of worthlessness and shame? The list is endless.
My personal opinion is that too much time and energy is being spent on trying to “punish” the offender (who is generally male). Punishment means loss of or diminished power which will only make the male more determined to exert his power i.e. he will continue to rape until his so-called “power” is channelled in a different way i.e. behavioural change. What are we, as a society doing to change male behaviour?
Poverty, poor socio-economic standards, unemployment, overcrowded houses or lack of proper living environments all add to the sense of worthlessness and frustration. As long as these conditions exist, we will find it very hard to change the behaviour of those who cannot see light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
In South Africa we have a government department specially designated to deal with Women, Children and People with Disabilities. However, instead of helping to curb the violence against women and children and to provide resources to change the behaviour of perpetrators, the department over spends on administration – largely travel and accommodation expenses. The Minister claims (Pretoria News: April 18, 2012: pg 2) that her department’s role was advocacy, monitoring and institutional support, rather than implementation, which was up to the government departments themselves.
So where is the support for the institutions, NGO’s and other organisations fighting hard to survive so they can support women and children who have survived abuse? Where is the support for organisations who are trying hard to implement programmes which would contribute to the change in behaviour of men? Why is it that most of government money and most of the Lotto funds go to funding events rather than provide tangible assistance to those who need it most?
Here I sit . . . waiting . . . for the African Dream . . .
The hashtag #rapevideo is currently the top trending topic on Twitter in South Africa
Also visit: http://www.womendemanddignity.co.za