Guest Column

EDITORIAL: What does it take to make society care?

2017-03-26 06:34

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Which of these facts is the most outrageous? Which is the most disgusting display of the disrespect our institutions and fellow South Africans seem to have for the woman in the street?

That a gang of men are using minibus taxis to prey on women commuters so that they can rape and rob them.

That this has been going on for as long as a year and that at the time of going to press another seven women had come forward with similar stories.

That the first two cases were reported to police in Roodepoort last year, but we’ve heard nothing about it – no warnings issued, no suspects arrested to date.

That it took a rape survivor’s courageous act of telling her tale on radio to galvanise the police, relevant government department and the taxi association to start taking this series of crimes seriously, and to get the police to bother to try to catch the rapists and help the survivors.

That a rape survivor says: “I just want them to show interest and attempt to arrest these people.”

That the large and loud publicity this case has now attracted is what it takes to get a reaction out of the public servants, whose salaries our taxes pay, to do their jobs and keep us safe from the most depraved members of our society.

The answer is that picking one is impossible.

There are no words for how outraged we all are about this blatant display of disregard for women in our society.

What is perhaps most outrageous is that it is not a blip – it is the South African norm that the war on women’s bodies is relentless, omnipresent and unstoppable.

It is unstoppable because it seems our society couldn’t give a damn.

We can only hope this time the public outrage isn’t as fleeting as usual.

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