Rest in pieces

2014-02-02 10:00

Have you noticed the weekly rape maps we publish on page 2 of City Press every week?

We have put this map together every week almost since Anene Booysen’s horrific rape and murder brought the country to a standstill a year ago. With them, we try to display week by week the rape culture in our country. And we also want to track trial and prosecution.

It is by no means scientific, our map. For one, most rapes go unreported. And two, many charges are withdrawn. We only scan the media and report what we find to keep the issue top of mind. There’s never been a week with an empty map.

This week, our map is fuller than usual. There are 11 instances of rape or of a perpetrator’s appearance in court on a rape charge. There is no particular pattern, a discernible geography – rape happens everywhere, day and night. It happens to women and to men.

Anene’s rapist and murderer has been jailed. But South Africa has since lost its outrage and we skim the stories of rape, which are again too painful to turn into a crisis.

We say, glibly, when women like Anene die after being raped and attacked: Rest in peace. Perhaps we should rather say rest in pieces, for it seems they do die in pain and in vain.

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