Ferguson to alleged rapist: 'I am offering you a restorative justice process'

2017-10-24 19:15
Jennifer Ferguson. (Picture: Annika Björndotter)

Jennifer Ferguson. (Picture: Annika Björndotter)

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Cape Town - Former ANC MP and singer Jennifer Ferguson on Tuesday said she had formally offered the man she alleges raped her the opportunity for a mediated restorative justice process.

In a Facebook post she said this would be facilitated by Methodist minister Paul Verryn in consultation with other experts.

"The levels of rape that have been normalised in our society are damaging to the very fabric of sanity in our communities. The levels of silenced pain in our nation cannot continue without serious consequences," the post reads.

"Men who choose to rape women are seriously damaged. Women who are raped are confronted with death and forced to continue living with the memory of their humiliation being a constant experience. A society that laughs at this pathology is betraying its future.

"We have to find another way."

Restorative justice, according to the website of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, sees crime as an act against the victim and shifts the focus to repairing the harm that has been committed against the victim and community.

"It believes that the offender also needs assistance and seeks to identify what needs to change to prevent future re-offending."

The top level sports administrator is yet to comment on the allegations made by Ferguson.

READ MORE: No word from top level sports administrator as rape allegations surface

She last week in a social media and blog post claimed she had been raped by the politician 24 years ago in a Port Elizabeth hotel.

Attempts to reach the man as well as his legal representative were unsuccessful.

Ferguson was one of a number of women from around the world who shared stories about rape and sexual assault as part of the #MeToo campaign, in the wake of allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Justice/Criminal/Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice is an approach to justice that aims to involve the parties to a dispute and others affected by the harm (victims, offenders, families concerned and community members) in collectively identifying harms, needs and obligations through accepting responsibilities, making restitution, and taking measures to prevent a recurrence of the incident and promoting reconciliation..

In her blog post, she describes the alleged incident and the aftermath.

"I was in a state of complete shock and pain. Bewildered. Not sure what to do. I washed and left the hotel and began to walk. I reached the beach and sat there a very long time trying to process what had happened. The thought of going to the police felt intolerable," she said in her post.

READ: #MeToo: Women reveal sexual harassment stories in wake of Harvey Weinstein scandal

"What would I say? Should I have screamed louder? Fought him off harder? Had I been complicit in some way? All these questions raged in my mind.

"I wept…"

The anti-apartheid activist said she made the disclosure because people needed to understand how hard it was to come forward with incidents like these.

"Even for those of us who can move mountains when it comes to activism, political and social engagement, cultural creation, performance on stages. It has been hard to come out with the truth. Why?

"Because somewhere there is a template of shame and wrongdoing, a thought that it was my 'fault' And that I no longer need in my life.  Survivors of abuse do not need to feel any shame anymore. We are not to blame. We are not guilty of anything."

She said she was not revealing the information to "get revenge" against the man.

"I am doing this so we can help each other be courageous, speak out and begin to heal as we find we are not alone. I know there are many of us out there." 

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Read more on:    jennifer ferguson  |  sexual assault

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