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Rape - The silence of men is deafening

08 February 2013, 11:19

Anene Booysen, raped and slaughtered at the age of 17. Raped by young men she knew. She forms part of the statistics that say – there is a rape occurring every four minutes in South Africa. Radio 702 has set a timer to beep every 4 minutes to remind us that a rape is happening……………….

It has been said time and again that men do nothing to help stop the scourge of Rape.

The Patriarchal society has had a finger pointed at it over and over again. Tribal leaders continue to down play the status of women in communities where they are treated as commodities, like cattle. Lobola is demeaning and the real respect for women is lost when MEN sit and haggle over the value of a woman. The men who will object to criticism against them are the same men who are silent when violence and rape is perpetrated against women and children!

Another demeaning exercise is the Reed dance. Young girls are made to walk half naked while older men ogle them. This may be someones culture, but, is it really fair to young girls? Is this not another form of cattle market? In India, girl babies are aborted to give a boy baby a chance to be born. If girls were not aborted, they are sold off to brothels to become prostitutes. China with its “one child” policy continues to abort girl babies and if perchance the girl lives, she is sold into slavery to farmers. To become a concubine and servant. Sometimes these girls are even sold off to pay family debts!

Eastern Europe continues to allow their women to be “sold” as foreign brides! The Middle East continues to marry of 12 or 13 year old girls to old men. They then become victims of rape and abuse, by men older than their fathers. Where are the men that should be role models to younger men – instead of showing young men that its ok to be sadistic!

So where are ALL the men in this unfair treatment against women? Who are the leaders of these countries? They are men. Men who make the laws of the land pertaining to War and Peace, Money and Poverty, Self Enrichment, IMF Policies – every country has men taking part in and deciding the future of mankind – BUT WHO MAKES THE LAWS PROTECTING WOMEN? Are women lesser human beings?

In South Africa rapists have more rights than the victim. Laws to make rape a capital crime continues to be ignored. If rape is occurring every 4 minutes then surely it is a capital crime? Put it in the same category as murder, armed robbery and treason – after all – is it any less of a crime? Rape is not a sexual crime. It is a violent demeaning act of gross violence against the victim.

Gang rape has become a game. This is especially rife in the Cape Flats where gangsterism is  a way of life for young men who don’t work but sit around and take drugs. Raping young girls is an initiation into these gangs. Young girls fall victim to the lust, drugs and violence that rule these gangsters playground.

Police are unable to stop these gangs – or maybe they don’t try hard enough. Some police are known to be on the payrolls of these druglords . The DA once asked for our President to send in the army to help control crime and violence in the Western Cape. The request was rejected. Surely visible law enforcement may be a deterrent to the violence in the area?

Then what is the cause of rape and violence? Why are people not galvanized enough to stand up against this heinous crime? We mobilized ourselves against etolls, Freedom of the Press, Service deliveries etc. Then why won’t we mobilize ourselves against the disgraceful act of rape. Anene Booysen is just one in a thousand girls being raped all the time, there are thousands more that don’t report their rape. The shame is unbearable to some. 

Men should stop hiding behind tradition and culture. Culture evolves.  Traditional leaders should create a culture of respect towards women. Community Leaders and Church elders should take the initiative in leading young boys and men to become role models for the next generation. Alcohol and drugs also play a part in the scourge of rape and violence.  Boys should be taught in schools that women and girls are not objects for rape.  Mothers should help mould their young sons at an early age – to respect the rights of young girls and women. Especially in a Woman headed household.

More stringent measures should be taken against investigating officers. Missing documents must not be allowed to continue. It helps the rapist. No bail should be allowed for rape. This Human Rights nonsense has to be stopped. What rights for the victims?  The law must be swift at all times and punish rapists as soon as possible! Justice delayed is justice denied.

So our Leaders, the men who lead us should set a precedent by taking up the fight against Rape. Men have to be seen to be heard – Cosatu for one – those mobilizers of workers, who are mostly men, should mobilize themselves against this disgusting scourge of rape . –  As a nation we can make a difference!

And to the men who DO take a stance against rape - I commend you, and say - For every man that fights against rape, there is one less rapist.

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