India rape death strikes chord in SA

2012-12-30 10:01

Johannesburg - The death of a young Indian woman who suffered organ failure after being gang raped reverberated beyond Asia on Saturday to South Africa, a country battling its own epidemic levels of sexual violence.

News of the 23-year-old's tragic death in a Singapore hospital where she had been taken for treatment prompted a groundswell of anger and a good deal of introspection about why South Africa persistently has some of the highest incidences of rape in world.

Official statistics show there were almost 65 000 sexual offences in South Africa last year, but police estimate only one in 36 rape cases is reported.

Based on those figures it is possible 2.3 million South Africans were victims of sexual offences, out of a total population of 50 million.

So South Africa is all too able to empathise with the victims of horrendous acts of sexual violence. In addition it also has a large Indian population.

But events in Delhi and Singapore appear to have struck a painful chord in large part because of the subsequent protests in India, which raised difficult questions about whether South Africans were doing enough to come to terms with their own crisis.

Good men

"Here rapists attack everyone - from babies up to grannies and we sit and do nothing. A revolution is taking place in India," said commentator Pinky Khoabane.

"We need the good men to stand up," Khoabane said, decrying what she said was systemic pattern of femicide.

An estimated 28% of South African men have committed rape, according to data from the Medical Research Council of South Africa and the International Centre for Research on Women.

That compares to 24% of Indian men according to the same data.

South Africa often appears to have become accustomed to levels of sexual violence that would be considered intolerable in other countries.

In November six village boys, including one aged 10, were charged with rape and the murder of three other children, in a case that hardly made the newspapers.

Poor victims

President Jacob Zuma's rape trial - at which he was acquitted - and the filmed gang rape of a 17-year-old girl with a mental age of four were notable exceptions, and both sparked a national debate.

But analysts say that the general resignation about sexual violence has partly to do with who the victims are.

Based on statistics from Gauteng - which encompasses Johannesburg and Pretoria - researchers have shown that almost 89% of reported rapes involve black women, who are predominantly poor.

Around 58% of the victims were unemployed and 15% were under the age of 11, according to figures published in the journal Crime Quarterly.

The same data showed 16% of reported rape cases in South Africa involve gang rape.

In a heated Twitter debate on Saturday Zwelinzima Vavi, head of the union umbrella group Cosatu - which is part of the ANC-led tripartite alliance that governs the country - angrily dismissed claims sexual violence was caused by poverty or apartheid.

No excuse for moral degeneration

"No one can tell me that raping a three-month-[old] baby or 87-year-old granny or burning a library or vandalising a school is caused by poverty," he wrote.

"Poverty can't lead to an erection when seeing a 90-year or three-month-old."

"Yes, apartheid humiliated, dehumanised and made people feel valueless - its existence in the past is no excuse for current moral degeneration," he added.

  • - 2012-12-30 10:10

    "President Jacob Zuma's rape trial - at which he was acquitted" ~ says it all actually

      vuyisan - 2012-12-30 10:27

      furthermore, we as the citizens of this country we doing nothing about it except just talking about it. it could be far worse than estimated. I know two female colleagues who never reported their cases

      bullet.proof.9400 - 2012-12-30 11:04

      It's the new world we live in, no respect, freedom, liberation, lawlessness, no justice, and jail time is free TV and three meals a day. Just waiting for someone to blame apartheid and Verwoerd. The death penalty works, there's no denying it. I say F... the criminals rights, what about the victims’ rights? Can anyone imagine the terror, humiliation and pain that poor young women went through? Now she is dead, her only issue was being a woman. How disgusting our world has become! May she rest in peace. As for those rapists, everyone should be publicly hanged after castration with a blunt knife

      BulletProof. - 2012-12-30 11:05

      This government will not wake up until we have a revolution India type, that's what made India to wake up.

      lownabester - 2012-12-30 11:08

      We have no compassion anymore, And with our current leaders things will go from bad to worse. How sad.

      paul.prinsloo3 - 2012-12-30 12:16

      Agree, especially taken into account that there was no doubt that he did it; he actually did not even deny that he raped his dear Comrade's daughter, whom he knew to have been HIV possitive. How do we combat this scourge with such a vast nunber of the population; some who raped, others who were raped and those who know that if something drastic is not done soon, as Vuyisan rightly requested that we all do our part to erradicate. First move would be to get Zuma removed from office and for him to defend himself, without the evidence having been destroyed or witheld from the court, on the matter of rape and other serious crimes that he committed with impunity...

      vuyisan - 2012-12-30 12:33

      @Leonardb1: I fully agree with you, it shouldn't matter who is punished as long as they committed the crime

      imam.madi.129 - 2012-12-30 13:46

      Women officers in charge of rape will make no difference in South Africa because the leading women's organisation, the ANC woman's league has no confidence in women and if u recall, black women constituted a big support base for JZ in his rape trial. Women here bring other women down and they suck up to bad men like no where else on earth. Key, just recruit either Chinese communists of the Iranians for 12 months to handle all rape case then they will be hanged in public. Shaming them means nothing because South Africans who do these things know no shame.

      preshen.govender.12382 - 2012-12-31 08:29

      First donovan moodley, now this . It is going to be impossible for an Indian guy to get a chick now

      thando.gqabaza - 2012-12-31 08:48

      @Preshen -you are clearly a retard

      hans.athmaram - 2012-12-31 13:01

      @preshen, you are simply an idiot.Race has nothign to do with this you moron.India has a population of over 1 billion people and they have far less crime than we do with a population of 50 million.Our society is rotten to the core and our so called leaders are useless to steer us in the right path. Our education system is failing the children and more and more criminals are being created.But the anc will still win the next election. So how can we solve our problems?

      bill.smit.7 - 2013-01-01 05:44

      Most South Africans have become morally numb. Unable to revolt against the daily horrors that beset us. Like sheep in disaray.

  • Stefan Erasmus - 2012-12-30 10:12

    I am so glad apartheid is been dismissed. The only thing that will stop it is the death penalty. The same with murder.

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-12-30 19:44

      Wildsbok the problem is that we are NOT going to get the death penalty back. That means that according to you we are never going to solve this problem. We need alternatives within the current realities of SA. However, our jails are full and our legal system is sick. We need a population that really desires change and that is willing to vote Zipper and his Zombies out of power.

      rudiger.thiede - 2012-12-31 09:38

      You said it, Wildsbok. Take those people who commit rape and murder, hang them in Church Square. Most people in this country agree with the death penalty, while the government makes pathetic noises about human rights and what not. Rapists and murderers don't care about human rights, they deny others the fundamental rights to life, why should they be regarded as human by the law? Anyone who decides it's okay to attack someone else without reason or provocation, such a person is an animal and must be killed like a rabid dog before he can ruin more lives.

  • Pixie86 - 2012-12-30 10:21

    The death penalty will sort all of this out. Why are criminals given the right to life when they took a life? What about the victim's life. I often feel SA law protects criminals more than victims.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-12-30 10:32

      The death penalty deals with the event after the fact. It does not address the factors that cause people to rape and to believe they have the right to rape

      toofaan.monsoon - 2012-12-30 11:03

      @lacrimosewolf - I agree with your statement. But it seems that an underlying assumption is that we''re dealing with human beings who we can analyse. What if it's not the case and these creatures are sub-human and we are as likely to understand them as we are to understand any animal. I think that we are dealing with animals and all animals fear death. So the death penalty may work. It's more important to be rid of this scum than to understand them.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-12-30 11:17

      The death penalty in any country/state only serves as a deterrent if it is carried out regularly and swiftly in places like Iran for example. In those countries/states where the death penalty exists, it is rarely handed down and even when it is the perpetrators can sit in jail for many years before execution and those countries/states, it has failed to deter. There are countless empirical studies to prove this. We as a society need to understand what we must do to stop creating more such monsters in the future.

      rudiger.thiede - 2012-12-31 09:54

      LacrimoseWolf, I don't care whether or not the death penalty is a deterrent or not. I don't care if murderers and rapists feel abused by society, or they want revenge on something, or they want a cellphone, or they want a Coke. You say "society creates monsters," well I haven't created any monsters, I don't even know any murderers or rapists, and I'm not going to feel guilty because someone else decided to commit the ultimate violence. And I don't care about their precious little feelings. We should kill them so they can't destroy an innocent life ever again. It's like a man-eating lion. I don't care why it decided to kill people and I'm not going to pay to have it psychoanalyzed. Shoot it, problem solved. That lion will never eat anyone again. Same with murderers and rapists. Many rapists and murderers have escaped from prison only to repeat their abominable crimes, but NO RAPISTS OR MURDERERS HAVE ESCAPED FROM HELL. Besides, if you really want to, we can still look into the social causes of murder and rape, while at the same time still having the Death Penalty. It's not either/or. Talk to the guy, ask about his mother, nod understandingly and take notes, then hang him by his neck until he is dead. Simple.

  • bilal.osman.984 - 2012-12-30 10:29

    South Africa has the sickest and most babaric people in the world , rape itself is babaric but to rape babies and old people is sick and these pillacks in gov only worry bout themselves this gov is responsible for this nonsense !!!

      lownabester - 2012-12-30 11:09

      100% correct.

      harold.stewart.184 - 2012-12-30 11:28

      only one solution. Death penalty is no deterrent. Castrate them and let them live with the conseqences

      thamibushet - 2012-12-31 07:59

      @Harold, u knw the current govt's stance on death penalty. Let's vote for the party that would listen and carry out the aspirations of the people of this country.

  • jacques.swanepoel.372 - 2012-12-30 10:37

    Apartheid, shame that the only card they can use again, it boils down to lawlessness and ZERO respect for others. Start implementing stricter rules and punish them...

      vuyisan - 2012-12-30 10:51

      actually Jacques: lack of law enforcement and and a failed justice system is the root of all our problems in this country. instead of being soft and generous to criminals, law must show no mercy at all and be brutal to criminals but it must start from top all the way down. even the capital punishment if need be will do

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-12-30 11:20

      @vuyisan - so where does this sense of entitlement to rape come from? This desire to control, mutilate and humiliate? The judicial system comes in after the fact. Attitudes and beliefs are learnt - directly or indirectly - by the societies we are raised and live in

      KReddy - 2012-12-30 11:37

      I agree that the apartheid card often, maybe TOO often, crops up by our politicians. I believe that it always will but will be used as a political time reference in future. The act of rape accross race seems not to be as much as within race and considering the majority being Black in SA, that is where the stats show highest figures. That being said, its only a sick mind that leads one to rape as what benefit does one derive really? Rather blame it on lack of education, morally void leaders and not on poverty. When SA wakes up and decides to serve its people all of these problems will go away. And bring back the death penalty.

      vuyisan - 2012-12-30 12:24

      @lacrimosewolf: KReddy just mentioned lack of education as one of the causes for this mentality. and what makes it worse is these criminals don't even understand the damage they cause to our women and children

  • - 2012-12-30 10:38

    It's about time we the law abiding SA citizens stand up and do something about it, enough is enough

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-12-30 11:35

      @justanotherguy.fromsa - See the sterling work being done by Sonke Gender Justice Network

  • leonardo.newton.18 - 2012-12-30 10:41

    Day in day out there are so many silenced victims who are dying inside because of sexual harrasment. Some victims voice out rape that has happened to them, nobody believes them and its always hard to prove it. It is a very difficult situation. Something special needs to be done, we need to stand up together as a society and be counted and root out this sickness in our society.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-12-30 10:51

      If you know of people in such a situation please encourage them to contact POWA or Rape Crisis. They do not need to go through this alone, there is help available

  • Astro Kam's - 2012-12-30 10:42

    28% of SA men have committed rape?!?!? it like saying for each 4men in SA 1man has already raped. That is really sad...

      hein.huyser - 2012-12-30 22:30

      Astro, heres the scary part. 1 in 4 have raped hundreds of times. The anc have created a sick society and they, the anc and these rapists must be stopped.

  • augusto.lugoboni - 2012-12-30 10:45

    Shocking to think that the statistics are much higher. Many cases are not even reported because of fear of intimidation and victimisation. Another point, is the question of the death penalty for such heinous crimes, (which I do support).However, in a country with an untrustworthy judicial system, they'll be sending all the wrong people and scapegoats to the gallows.

  • annelise.vanderschyff - 2012-12-30 10:53

    Bring death penalty back!!!

  • lebeko - 2012-12-30 10:53

    Some parents or family members are influencing this, by hiding information.

      roman.caesar.121 - 2012-12-30 11:06

      I AGREE

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-12-30 11:23

      People cover-up rapes for many reasons, usually shame that stems from faulty belief systems. Everyone should read this

  • Johannes Abraham Etsebeth - 2012-12-30 10:54


      mike.bundy.73 - 2013-01-01 13:25

      I see your point

  • simson.moller - 2012-12-30 10:54

    This is without a doubt one of the most shocking statistics I've ever read!

  • Mike Peach Purchase - 2012-12-30 10:54

    I agree vuyisan it starts at the top as sh.t flows downhill.

  • delish7564 - 2012-12-30 10:56

    Don't often agree with Vavi, but on this I do......poverty does not make a man rape an elderly woman or a baby, a sick mind does that, someone who is completely devoid of any humanity or compassion! There are many poor people n this world but they don't commit such heinous acts, so, excuse not accepted :( - 2012-12-30 11:04

      a sick mind and a justice system that panders to the (s)elect few... you know, rules for some...

  • - 2012-12-30 11:01

    Mr. Vavi, I do not often agree with with you, but in this matter I fully support you

  • scholesss - 2012-12-30 11:01

    when will these satanic acts ends. with this world full women, one will choose to rape...this is jus lunatic...yu wont lose anything if yu propse a woman peaceful

      hein.huyser - 2012-12-30 22:33

      rape is not about sex, its about subjucating your victim and to degrade a person. We have a few sichos around us, and they will carry on doing these things till society tells on them and bring them to book.

  • Sige Gorabeb - 2012-12-30 11:04

    Does our decision makers have the moral high ground to decisively deal with sexual violence?

  • roman.caesar.121 - 2012-12-30 11:04

    JUST A SUGGESTION: the government need to establish woman police stations in poor communities run by woman to report sexual abuse cases. If any man/gang must rape my daughter and they get arrested, i will shoot them inside or outside the court.theres many ways to kill a cat. REAL MEN DONT RAPE!

  • elizeoliviervanzyl - 2012-12-30 11:05


  • ray.molekoa.5 - 2012-12-30 11:13

    Blame Apartheid and Poverty for rape , murder and other crimes ? Please ! I am 50 years old , lived through apartheid but never was tempted to commit any crime because of apartheid . And where on earth does the victim mentality come from ? I tasted apartheid at a Sunnyside Barclays bank branch (we have money to loan , but not for you blacks ) and the Brooklyn police station ( passboek ) in the 80's . So what ?

  • Tisetso2 - 2012-12-30 11:19

    Until we face the fact, that the face of raped in South Africa is, as statistics show it, almost entirely black, we will always see these dreadful acts. Until we admit that our African culture condone in some cases facilitate raped of you girls, the raped scourge is going nowhere.

      ray.molekoa.5 - 2012-12-30 11:31

      I agree 100% ! And why do we africans extend penises , why prioritize sex in our life ? The sick african mentality !

      hein.huyser - 2012-12-30 22:42

      Agreed Tisetso, we need cultures to develpop with the times. Thats called emotional maturity first to realize these things and of coarse to adjust for the better of society. Dinosaurs refused change and they all gone now, and so will those who refuses to better themselves

      lionel.defrontignac - 2012-12-31 08:46

      It's not a "black" thing - there are plenty of white men who abuse women and children - South Africa is in a very sick place. It doesn't help having a leader who drops his pants for a kanga.

  • beau.schoeman - 2012-12-30 11:26

    If the leader of our country doesn't believe in and practice moral values, how do you think he can make moral decisions to help restore the situasion in SA. If he cannot change his heart for the country and its people, then there is no hope.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-12-30 11:45

      We can't all start behaving badly just because one person does. It's an embarrassment to the nation that we have the holder of the highest office with some very strange value systems, but that doesn't mean we all have to follow his example.

  • xolani.sulanimalghas - 2012-12-30 11:40

    I might sound a bit lunatic on this one but it is my view.When Jacob Zuma was accused of rape,most women went out in public in support of Zuma and calling the victim by names.Some said she was a prostitute,and some said she asked for it.There's one thing that those women forgot,that their support for Zuma will cause their own daughters not to report the rape cases to the police because of fear that they will also be humiliated.I suggest we as South African stand up tall against women and children abuse especial sexual abuse.We need to start by choosing the right leaderz for our country.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-12-30 11:56

      @xolani.sulanimalghas - The craziness is the clinging to faulty belief systems on the one hand and a Bill of Rights and Constitution that says the complete opposite on the other hand. People need to read this and teach others

      hein.huyser - 2012-12-30 22:48

      Xolani, the main culprits were the ANCWL. Most woman I know (most of them black) were against jz and the wl.

  • Stewart Croucamp - 2012-12-30 11:41

    The only way to deal with any form of crime in the crime in this country is to kill the criminals. We can no longer rely on the police and the judicial system.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-12-30 11:47

      I am against State-sanctioned killing. We can't trust most of our politicians to sit the right way up on a toilet seat, why would we trust them to get the 'right' people killed?

  • daniel.v.wyk - 2012-12-30 11:43

    And I hope this cord gets struck hard. I hope it rattles the very foundation of our law, so that ALL South Africans can feël and be safe. And while we are rattling, lets rattle the Spines of our leaders... Stop accepting, start demanding...

  • asdhasgd - 2012-12-30 11:58

    "We need the good men to stand up," Khoabane said Good men in the ANC? Arent they too fat to walk on their own?

  • carolyn.dewrance - 2012-12-30 12:14

    How many men everyday force a woman to have intercourse with them, And I mean force, be it their husbands, boyfriends, sons, brothers,father, A woman is raped every minute of the day in South Africa. So think about next time your wife says no or your girlfriend says no, because if you think about it, and force your self onto her you are committing rape. And if she does not report you then she is the fool. All rapists should receive the death sentence. So watch your actions Men, none of you are perfect, and all of you are guilty in one way or another.

      hein.huyser - 2012-12-30 22:55

      Carol, you are wrong. I was brought up to know the differance between a yes and a no. It is very wrong of you to generalise, pr maybe you should choose the people you go around with a bit better. This "no" rule is standard amongst all the men I deal with and call my friends.

  • annie.israel.50 - 2012-12-30 12:45

    Rape is a "national sport" in SA - DISGUSTING

  • master.kay.7355 - 2012-12-30 13:31

    Countries in denial must face the fact today's world demands democracy denying people freedom is a worst law or policy a country can ever pass. Inequalities in asian countries is suppressing the poor majority. Only rich and male enjoy the benefits of life

  • tim.mthimkhulu - 2012-12-30 13:55

    rapist must be chopped their penises and given life prison terms.

  • cokiswa.mhlahlo - 2012-12-30 19:49

    castrate all convicted rapists from the top echelons of society to the poorest scum who have no moral fibre even dogs r far better than them

  • Passionate.Parrot - 2012-12-30 21:41

    Please tell me why is Apartheid always used as an excuse? Did they have apartheid in India, it is a crime perpetuated by men who are stronger than their victims. It is about time that this country started taking this crime against women and children more seriously. These men should be hanged, especialy if it is against children and old defencless women. I get so angry when I read about rape against a child especialy.

  • rudiger.thiede - 2012-12-31 09:34

    Way to go Mr. Vavi. I am really impressed with Cosatu lately, they stand together with others in opposing the e-toll, and they seem to be taking responsibility for things and telling other people to take responsibility for their own lives, not blame everything on poverty and so on (like Mbeki's "poverty causes AIDS" nonsense). Well done Cosatu, you are gaining my respect.

  • gail.watton - 2012-12-31 09:59

    If an example was made of our President at the time of his rape trial, we might have changed the mindset of the rapist in this country! But sadly ...

  • george.frangs - 2012-12-31 10:33

    We need to get up and protest exactly the same way as almost the entire population of India and force a change in our country. We can't rely on government to do anything because all we'll get are committee's, forums and nonsense, and nothing gets done. We need to rise up against all of this!!

  • annie.israel.50 - 2012-12-31 11:21

    ZUMA WAS ACQUITTED AT HIS TRIAL??? - he is suppose to be President and gets away with all the evil he commits every single day - I SEE HIS NAME, HIS FACE I WANT TO PUKE - a disgusting, horrible and evil man WHO IS RUNNING THIS COUNTRY - AN ABSOLUTE DISGRACE

  • fawzia.bayat - 2012-12-31 12:21

    Death penalty, death penalty, death penalty to go on ad infinitum & ad nauseaum!!!!!!! No time to mince words with rapists.

  • elsbeth.verhoeven - 2012-12-31 13:14

    When the leader does it and gets away with it what else can you expect in South Africa? In South Africa people do not care anymore they are all blunted. We can also not stand together because we hear everyday that there are two groups "white and black".

  • vernon.samuel.7 - 2013-01-01 08:00

    When will people who call for the death penalty and castration realise that that will only solve the problem in their minds? India does have the death penalty in place and still (according to estimates in this report) nearly 24% of their men are rapists! We have no death penalty and 28% of our men are rapists. The point is that our justice system needs to find people guilty before they are sentenced to death. And if only 1 in 38 cases are reported, how can justice in any form prevail? People need to address the causes of rape and not look for ways just to ease their anger and conscience. If such a high percentage of rape occurs amongst the poor and amongst blacks, then perhaps questions need to be raised about over-population, job creation and black culture. We have a president who encourages all women to give birth. That places a huge burden on our economy and perpetuates the problem of over-population, unemployment and hence poverty. Is it then not safe to conclude that our president is adding to the problem of ongoing rape into the next generation? Rape (like murder and other violent crimes) is prevalent amongst the poor in this country. We need to ask ourselves tough questions and address some sensitive belief systems before we can come close to scratching the surface of resolving the problem.

  • caryn.nortje - 2013-01-01 19:45

    Can people not put the past to rest. Poverty and apartheid have nothing to do with sick minds. The people who rape these days were hardly around when apartheid was here in its fullness. Stop blaming everything else for the indiscretions of sick minds. I was raped 4 times in my life from the age of 6 to 18 and it had nothing to do with apartheid or poverty.

  • tanya.hunter.585 - 2013-01-02 07:40

    Chop off their willies. Every rapist b@"*tard. Quick, simple, effective. No arguments.

  • ruben.maistry - 2013-01-02 09:55

    Yes we talk about the problem.How about solving the problem. Action!!!

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