The current rape statistics in SA are shocking! Just in the past few weeks I’ve seen article links on twitter about an elderly woman, an infant, a young girl AND a student waiting to register for university, being raped. What is even more shocking is that we’ve learnt to live with it. We’ve become so hopeless because even justice, which is very seldom served, can’t undo what has been done to the victim.
So what must happen now?
1. Campaigns aimed at men
I’ve seen some campaigns on TV such as the Brothers For Life campaign in which men encourage men at home to be REAL men, i.e. good fathers, not beat women, not rape, take care of their children etc. This is a very good idea; unfortunately the impact thereof can’t be tracked or tested. One can only hope that the message gets across to the right people.
Here are pictures from another campaign called Don’t Be That Guy. This one is particularly aimed at those guys who use alcohol or drugs to lure women.
2. The Women’s League needs to speak up
Another factor that is not helping the status quo is the silence of the ANC Women’s League, which is probably the biggest women’s organisation in the country. Of course rape affects us all and combatting it needs for us all to put hands on deck, but when the women’s league says nothing about an issue that affects so many women, whatever efforts are being made are feeble. The voice of the women’s league could add much needed impact. Their silence is just too loud at the moment.
3. Stop making rape jokes
Jokes such as “I blew my rape whistle, but no one came to rape me.” need to be put to an end. Jokes about rape, no matter how funny you think they are, make the matter “light” and contribute to the ignorance and notion that it is okay. Rape cannot be taken lightly. It needs to be taken seriously and with due urgency.
Of course these aren’t guaranteed to put an end to rape, but they could just make the struggle more bearable. We need to realise that rape is not just a women’s’ issue. It is a social issue. One in which we are all affected. So it is vital that we all take a stand, report incidents and continue adding our voices.