What is the cause of rape and what is the solution?
Our knee jerk reaction is to call for a rapists slow and tortuous death, which is understandable because any reasonable person in South Africa is sick and tired of hearing how these criminals get off lightly by serving a short jail term. We would feel vindicated if they suffered just as much as their victims did - but it means we're missing something.
We're missing the fact that it won't stop the NEXT rape, and for that we need forethought. We need to identify who rapists are before they go out and rape, then implement a system that identifies them, or at least the possibility that they could rape.
How do we identify a potential rapist? Is it:
For example in poor areas? Rich areas? Besides their geographical location, where do they attack?
Are we to blame the media, the group of people they hang out with - like gangs or group mentality?
Do these people have a psychological illness of some sort?
Are they predisposed to becoming rapists?
Are they damaged from experiencing violence in the past or having been victims themselves?
- All of the above?
Could it be combinations of all of the above, or some of the above?
Are there any statistical studies into identifying what sort of profile fits the average rapist? For example, if we had interviewed all the rapists currently serving jail time, and 80% of them came from poor areas - then we would have a geographic profile for the bulk of rapists. If the percentage is 50/50 we cannot isolate it geographically, and have to look at other factors.
We have had many anti-rape campaigns in the past, and yet here we are with what I can only coin as a "rape epidemic". I think the reason these campaigns have failed is because although it makes the average citizen feel good about themselves for a moment (being the "cause flavour" of the month until the next cause comes along - "Save the Dolphins in Taj" or "Save the Rhino" etc) it doesn't last, it doesn't offer any solutions and it doesn't implement any lasting change. Even if we implemented something and it didn't work - at least we move away from the "Twit Tweeting" mentality and into more of an active one. Trying to DO something will at least yield some sort of result, but talking about it has proven to be utterly useless. Even with all the lame celebrity music CD's to save the Rhino hasn't worked - in fact there has been an increase in Rhino poaching. These awareness thing do nothing, it is proven.
So, knowing this, what IDEAS do we have? That's where we get back to my initial part of this article. We need some idea as to what makes a rapist a rapist. This needs to be a professional assessment - a combination of great minds, the likes of a top medical doctor, a top psychologist and a top forensic cop. Once we have the results, we can see if there are any major aspects that fit the profile of a rapist.
The only thing we need to do then, is implement a system that helps us identify them, and a system that helps protect potential victims.
So if we had the following profile (as an example - sorry if this singles out certain people):
Ages 20 to 40, low income household, history of family violence, drug use, depression, possible signs of psychosis, usually part of a gang or group.
Identifying potential rapists:
All males 20 to 40 with above demographics to undergo annual psychological evaluations, by court order and by force if necessary. Major police raids on known gangs on a constant basis, not just once off.
Protecting potential victims:
CCTV cameras in geographic locations that present easy targeting of victims. Monitored 24 hours, with trained police to intercept potentially dangerous situations and be trained to assess situations.
Other forms of prevention:
Children are taught from an early age how to avoid potential threats. Workshops for parents to identify erratic behaviour of their children and how to deal with it, be more vigilant and cope with the natural power struggle that parents and teenagers go through (rebellion that could lead to being in a dangerous situation - like running away from home, sneaking out to go to a bar, taking drugs etc). Teenage girls to be taught basic self defence techniques as part of the PE classes in school.
Police to be trained in sensitivity when dealing with victims on scene of crime. Specialised training and staff to deal with victims. Better system for ensuring dockets are kept safe before court proceedings. Specialised internal investigations unit to root out corrupt police (for example gangs paying corrupt police members to destroy a docket etc). Protective services for victims and their family to ensure that they aren't bullied or threatened into dropping a case.
Lawyers supported by the public to instate a MINIMUM sentence of 30 years with NO CHANCE OF PAROLE.
This is just an idea off the top of my head which I'm sure is far from even being a good idea, but it's all I have right now. I am not a lawyer or psychologist, but we need to put a logical system into place and act upon it, instead of throwing our arms up in the air and baying for blood. It doesn't solve anything.
We need solutions! What is yours?