Powa slams rape taunt

2009-01-23 00:00

“Malema has at worst been guilty of inciting hatred and prejudice and at best demonstrated poor leadership.”

This was the response of South Africa’s People Opposing Women’s Abuse (Powa) to the remarks by the president of the ANC Youth League about the woman who accused ANC president Jacob Zuma of rape.

“It is indeed tragic that individuals in positions of power choose to use their power to propagate hate and disrespect for others,” said Carrie Shelver, programmes co-ordinator for the organisation.

Yesterday, a Durban newspaper reported that during a visit to the Cape Peninsula University of Technology this week, Julius Malama suggested Zuma’s accuser had a “nice time” and that the fact that she left Zuma’s home at sunrise is enough evidence to back his claim.

“When a woman didn’t enjoy it, she leaves early in the morning. Those who had a nice time will wait until the sun comes out, request breakfast and ask for taxi money,” he reportedly said.

The 150 students at the meeting allegedly applauded when he concluded by saying that “in the morning, that lady requested breakfast and taxi money … You can’t ask for money from somebody who raped you.”

The paper said that at a separate meeting that day, Malema said: “Zuma was accused of raping a woman. Although he did not rape the woman, aphiwe nje [he was just given the sexual favour], he got fired”.

Shelver slammed Malema’s remarks as making fun of sexual violence. “Sexual violence is not a laughing matter and should be [handled] with the utmost understanding and sensitivity.

“Mr Malema cannot presume to understand or interpret rape survivors’ reactions. Rape survivors react differently to rape. There is no single blueprint response,” she said. “The youth need leaders who clearly condemn sexual and gender-based violence and who provide correct information about rape and other forms of violence.”

Malema could not be reached for comment.

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