Why we raped

2017-05-21 05:52

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Filmmaker Roger Young is working on a documentary on rape in South Africa. Here are two of his interviews with men who have raped


‘I took her to one of those fancy expensive bars over by Campus Square [in Auckland Park, Johannesburg]. I wanted to impress her, to show her, you know, that even though I didn’t get to go to university like her, I still had a nice life.”

Marlon had known his victim since they were children. They grew up in Westbury, and attended the same schools, or close enough.

He didn’t know her like a friend; they didn’t talk or anything, but he’s pretty sure she knew his name because he knew hers. He had perhaps liked her a little at school, but not enough to ask her out.

But when she came to visit from where she was now living in Cape Town, Marlon found he liked her enough to ask her out.

“She had grown up nicely,” he says, “and she dressed real well, you could tell she knew fashion.”

Marlon didn’t know what she was studying in Cape Town, and he didn’t ask her when they went on the date, because Marlon mostly wanted to tell her about himself. He wanted her to know that he had big dreams. Because in the two weeks that she had been visiting, Marlon had decided that he should marry her. He decided this even after she had turned him down twice. He then asked his mother to ask her mother to speak to her.

Marlon’s mother told him that her mother said she was just playing hard to get, and he must ask her again.

And he did. He took her to the fancy expensive bar in a car he had borrowed.

So when did he decide to rape her?

“I didn’t really decide, it just happened,” he said.

“She wasn’t that interested in my ideas, really. She drank fast also and said she couldn’t be out too late because she said she had a friend she wanted to see later.”

Was he angry?

“No, it was more like a feeling of being disappointed. I had got myself into a hype about this girl, you know? And she was just talking about Cape Town this and Cape Town that, but no, I wasn’t angry, but just when she said she had a friend to meet, that’s when I knew she wouldn’t come on a second date with me.

“Maybe that’s when I first thought about it.”

He pulled the car over in a quiet street on the way home.

“She knew. She tried to get out the car and was asking questions: Why did we stop? What’s going on?” Even at that point, he says, he didn’t know he was going to rape her.

Why did he stop the car?

“Maybe I wanted to talk to her, because I could tell that she wouldn’t ever want to be with someone like me, and it was because she was now earning money and I wasn’t. She was a snob.”

So if he just wanted to talk, why did he rape her? Marlon looks at me as if I am stupid.

“Because I could tell that she would never let herself to be, like, alone with me again. I would never have another chance like this.”

He knows he raped her because she kept asking him to stop.

“But she didn’t try very hard to run. And she never reported it.

“I mean, I never got arrested for it.”

SIMON (30)

He says they called him Simon at the church at which he tended the garden and performed other janitorial duties. He didn’t want to tell me his real name. No one really asked about his past, but the “old minister” knew.

He knew because he got his job at the church as part of his conditions of release after serving three years of a seven-year rape sentence. After his release, he lived and worked at the church.

He hardly left the property, even though his parole was long over. He found his faith after being at the church for about a year. What appealed to him at first about Christianity was the forgiveness it would afford him.

Simon was found guilty of raping his
13-year-old cousin. He was 19, living in a shack outside his aunt’s house, trying to find work in Johannesburg. That Friday night – it was still when e.tv broadcast soft porn on Friday nights – he was watching TV and everyone was asleep. His cousin was in her room, but he could see her looking through her door at the TV.

“After a while, you know, from watching that thing, I was feeling it.”

He had also had a few quarts of beer. She pretended to be asleep when he came into her room, and continued to pretend to be asleep while he raped her.

He did not take off her nightie, which he remembers was blue. He did take off her panties, and he took them with him.

His possession of them – they were found in his pocket when he was arrested a few days later – is what “made that magistrate there give me such a long sentence”.

Even though she was trying to pretend to be asleep, she made a “small noise, but she wasn’t crying”. So Simon “had to keep her from making those noises” and covered her mouth with her underwear.

Why did he do it? “It was that e.tv show, it made me feel like I wanted it.”

Why did he feel like he could do such a thing? “I know what I did was wrong.”

Has he seen her since then?

“Only at the court case. You know, the magistrate, before he did the sentence, he said to me there in the court to look her in the face and ask her to forgive me.”


“I did, I turned around to where she was sitting with my auntie and I said that I was very sorry and could she ever forgive me.”

He pauses for a second.

“And she said back to me that she forgives me. Ja. But you know what, I could see that she didn’t.”

Read more on:    rape

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