I don't know how many blogs, column, tweets or facebook statuses I've read on the "Rape" Topic. All this sparked by the murder and rape of Anene Booysen. We've became a nation in distress in an instant.
Truth is, we have been silent on rape for far too long. We had to wait for a 17 year old girl to die before we wake up. Writing blogs, tweeting or updating facebook statuses doesn't constitute breaking the silence. Online we all sing the same song when it comes to crime and violence. In CAPS, BOLD letters and exclamation marks we express our anger but it just remains here online, in letters, no action made.
We need to signout and turn words into action. South Africa is one of the rape capitals of the world. Between a quarter and a third of men admitted to rape and in 2011, same year in an average of 154 days 56 000 rapes were recorded. In addition to these dreadful numbers are women who do not report rape due to socioeconomic problems they face. Some don't report it because perpetrators are never punished; they go to jail for a week even a day then go back to the same community they were meant to be taken out off. Men on the other hand don't report rape because of the stereotypes attached to a "man" being raped. There are even some of us who still believe men can not be raped. From soldiers deployed by their states in Africa to multinational corporation, women and children continue to be sexually abused, killed and used for cheap labor. Reporting these crimes could result in death or unemployment.
Before I begin pointing fingers at anyone I must start with myself. If I was abused at home, I should not use that as an excuse to rape and do my own abuse. Who ever abused me did not turn me into an animal. If I grew up in a poor family, poverty should not be used as an excuse to rape and murder. Rape has no social class its simply an animal behavior we human need to do away with.
The stereotypes on patriarchy we learn from society need to be challenged by us first within ourselves. The idea that women are inferior to men and objects that can be used for whatever purpose "men" deem necessary for their benefit is an insult to Human Rights and our South African constitution.
Researches show that massive funded public education/ awareness can have an effect in changing social behavior. This is how governments of the world responded to HIV&Aid. Education should start from domestic to work violence to HIV prevention. Women should be empowered with education. Because it is this that men continue to use to object women into their sickening animal behavior.
"South Africa Sexual Offenses Act, an important national action plan in fighting this. Also Government departments are focused on stopping assaults, but they are struggling to have an impact, faced with the rampant culture of sexual violence and impunity that runs through communities, law enforcement and the institutions that are supposed to protect women". However, we are hopeful as the Justice Department is looking at reopening the Sexual offenses Courts. Its also time we ask ourselves what role Traditional courts can play in sexual abuse. Because in some cases they perpetrate it, they're the one in rural areas enforcing the ideas of women being used as objects. Maybe they have a role to play, by changing the way they do things.
Its time we the people take the lead in fighting Rape, its time we write columns, blogs and tweet little do more action by getting inside our communities. Teach little girls self defense, help in ensuring they remain in schools. Anene Booysen was brutally murdered on her way back from a pub not from school or from a group study. She had to drop out of school at an early age. Anene was 17 years old, a good age to be close or in Matric. Just maybe if she was at school, just maybe. Its time we startup community projects that will keep girls off the streets. Arm them with confidence and self awareness that no men is bigger than them. Let's break the silence.
16 days of Activism should not be the only time we see ourselves fighting crime and violence against women and children. It should happen throughout the year, 7days a week 24hours. Its time to break the silence.