We all know the statistics – A woman is raped every 4 minutes in South Africa. 1 in 3 women will be raped in their lifetimes in SA. We all fear it, and never think it will happen to us until it does. Why are we the rape capital of the world? Why must so many women endure this horrific act of involuntary torture? The biggest problem with rape is that we are treating the symptoms instead of the cause. We are wrapping the wound in a bandage as opposed to finding out how it actually happened and preventing it from happening again. Why do men rape women? Why is her body violated without her consent?
What we need to understand first and foremost is that rape is not about sex - or in most cases at least. Rape is about the need to feel all mighty and powerful – having that control over someone else and feeling strong and invincible. Rape and sex should have no attachment or association in any way. When a woman is raped, she does not see it as sexual in any way. She sees it as a painful, claustrophobic, traumatizing, violent act of torture.
Men who rape woman will all have something in common, and you will see it no matter what case you look into. There are many possibilities, but here are a few. They have grown up in chauvinistic households, where they have been taught from an early age that men and woman are not equal, and men are better than women. A woman must live to please a man, and give him whatever he desires at any given moment, with or without her consent. Whether it be making a sandwich, or engaging in a sexual act. Rape is when this ideology is taken too far and boundaries are non-existent. Most of these men will not even realize that what they are doing is wrong. It is what they have always known.
A man may have been through a tragic, life-changing event in his life. He may have been beaten or abused by his mother as a child. Something happened to make him lose all respect for women, and use them as an object to give him pleasure. Or, he may have been so traumatized that he doesn’t see why he must go through pain while others live in perfect happiness. In search of making others suffer as much as he has, he would take a stranger who appears “perfect” with a fairytale life, and rip that away from them. We may or may not ever be able to change men that want to rape women, at the end of the day it is cultural differences or alternate mindsets – we can only do as much as in in our power.
Returning to why we are the rape capital of the world - We live in a country that possesses one of the highest unemployment rates, the most homeless and starving people, and the most crime. Rape is a branch extending from this main tree of problems. A lot of these people have nothing to live for, or have been raised in a certain way or have been through some form of trauma – so they rape…without mercy. In order to get to the root of rape, one needs to analyze these causes - the roots of the tree. In order to begin eradicating rape, one would first have to fix these other issues.
Now do not take this in any other way than how I am saying it, I am not in any way stating that women ask to be raped, ever. However, there are certain things we can do to avoid the irreversible pain of rape. For example, wearing a skirt that might just as well be a belt, is asking for trouble. Going out to a club late at night without letting anyone know where you are, or failing to plan sufficient transport, or abandoning the people you are with for a stranger who seems “charming” and “kind”, would also be a mistake.
The most important thing to remember is to never judge a book by its cover (Clichéd, but oh-so-true) The most wonderful and charming men on the outside could be corrupt, evil monsters on the inside. We can only make sure we are in safe, secure groups of well-known and trusted people, and never put ourselves in a dangerous situation where nobody knows where we are. If women could be wiser in this manner, our rape statistics would dramatically. Take a stand against rape and violence today – and spread the word wherever, and whenever, possible.