Real MEN do rape…

2013-02-13 15:10

South Africa is regarded as the rape capital of the world because of the high number of reported cases annually. Which means the number is higher as a lot of these cases go by unreported. These depraved and barbaric acts are often not committed by the 'bogeyman' but by those who supposedly care and protect women such as boyfriends, husbands, uncles, fathers, friends and grandfathers.

The brutal rape, mutilation and murder of 17 year old Anene Booysen caused an outrage with many South Africans taking to social networks, media and holding marches (here’ hoping it doesn’t stop there) to express their anger and demand an end to rape and gender based crime.

The bogeyman is innocent

Anene Booysen reportedly identified one of her assailants as her ex boyfriend before she died. This means that someone she once loved and trusted brutalised her in this inhumane manner.

Most people still consider rapists as ‘monsters’ not ‘real’ men because men are not capable of such horrific things. What this fails to recognise is that men are different therefore this argument falls short as some of them view sexually violating women as a form of expressing their masculinity. Radio and television host Redi Tlhabi summarised it perfectly with this tweet:

“‘Real Men’ DO rape. They do. We cannot see man as monolithic with one essential masculine identity. There are many layers, including rapist.”

There is this perception among some men that it’s the ‘manly’ thing to do to force themselves on women because they are the fairer sex, are not supposed to dress in a such a way that they tempt men or worse justify their sick behaviour with “do not advertise what you don’t sell” basically saying women who wear mini skirts and show cleavage are asking for it.

In a piece about the rape Dorothy Black wrote:

“It doesn’t matter if you were wearing pyjamas in your home (as a child or married women), jogging or working the night shift at a hospital or drunk as f*** with a party dress over your head- rape is rape is rape. It is a violent crime whether executed quietly or with a gun to your head, and it is about power, control and violation and objectification.”

She continues “…Crazies like rapists do not exist in a vacuum. They aren’t created in an island far, far away and shipped in to hurt us. They are nice college students as easily as they are gangland members. They are family as easily as they are strangers.”

One of my closest friends said to me that the fight on rape needs a new approach because the perpetrator is not the bogeyman rather the very people who you share a house or a name with. Everyday a story pops up in the news about an ‘uncle rapes niece’ or ‘grandson sexually assaults grandmother.’

South Africans need to realise that victim blaming is part of the reason some victims would rather suffer in silence than speak out for fear of being stigmatised or labelled as sluts who asked for because they dress a certain way.

What we need is to comprehend that rapists live among us. They do not have a big sign on their foreheads, look or act a certain way. They roam the streets like the rest of us, live in suburbs, drive nice cars, are educated and have families and they are men.

If ‘real men’ do not rape, then why does SA have the highest rape statistics in the world?

You can catch me on twitter @BongaDlulane

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