South Africa: New Rape Study Reasons Male Entitlement
Two-thirds of the one in three men who admit to having committed rape in Gauteng, South Africa, said they raped because of a sense of sexual entitlement; and that other popular motivating factors included a desire to punish women who rejected or angered them, and also raping out of boredom in some cases. Government Funded study by the South African Medical Research Foundation, reported this and it has been published by Associated Press. (National Statistics are one in four.)
I went on to the SAMRF website and could not find the report. This could be due to the shame and taboo – attached to a subject that the South African government refuses to tackle. While it may seem odd that they would be funding the study, they do not want to really address; I offer two reasons – disorganization and/ or arbitrary use of funds where the President, Zuma and the Minister of Health had no idea the survey was being conducted – or this may simply have been designated to fob off criticism that SA is doing nothing about the critical situation of rape in the Country described as the Rape Capital of the World.
The result of the survey conveyed the startling statistic; In Gauteng province, home to South Africa’s most populous city of Johannesburg, more than 37 percent of men said they had raped a woman. Nearly 7 percent of the 487 men surveyed said they had participated in a gang rape. More than 51 percent of the 511 women interviewed said they’d experienced violence from men, and 78 percent of men said they’d committed violence against women. A quarter of the women interviewed said they’d been raped, but the study says only one in 25 rapes are reported to police.
“Rape is completely trivialized by a great number of men. It is seen as a legitimate activity,” said Rachel Jewkes an expert in this research; according to the AP Report. Jewkes believes South Africa’s history of racial division and associated trauma is part of the reason for the high incidence of sexual violence in the country. “Apartheid has contributed to culture of impunity surrounding rape in South Africa,” said Jewkes. The apartheid period also saw very little enforcement of common law, which has contributed to a culture of impunity, Jewkes tells AP.
While I agree with Ms. Jewkes’ remedy – “We need to start interventions in childhood, focusing on building a more empowering childhood environment in South Africa, especially for boys,” she said, “and we need to make it worth their while for women to report sexual violence,” the problem is understated.
The larger problem is a government that does not want to hear the cry. Remember seated are the very men that comprise the Statistic. This is endemic and so one looks at the group in Parliament and must think that 1 in 4 at least has raped; while amongst the women at least 70% have been abused. So it is no surprise that the government readily turns a blind eye, in feigned concern expressed through funded reports, when the President, Jacob Zuma, himself has stood trial for rape.
The government has failed to adequately train the police force, investigators are a rarity, the SAP force has outdated minimal forensic capabilities and amongst the ranks of the Police and prosecuting authorities are the very people who comprise these horrendous statistics. Rape is deeply embedded in this society. Its a cultural phenomenon to place their male pride above the Western ideal of respect for women. This survey certainly illustrates the milieu of an ineptitude that fosters the cultural excuse, resulting in a tacit call to continue to rape , regardless of reports.
Furthermore, and this is something that may be denied: I heard from a source who sat in a meeting with Nelson Mandela after he was released and became President (1990). My source, informed me that the discussion addressed the emerging issue – HIV/AIDS. The topic -promoting the use of condoms. President Mandela, pointed out that that having just come through apartheid, asserting and campaigning for the use of condoms, would only serve to further strip the dignity of black South African men, who had already suffered so much degradation during the apartheid era. Time should be allotted to heal for the ‘new South Africa.’ I mention this in the context of this rape discussion, because it is a powerful reflection of the male stance in South Africa and just how government can so easily place male dignity above criminality, to the point of endorsing the attitude of entitlement.
To my way of thinking the post apartheid South African government has done little more than to pick up the gavel from P.W. Botha, de Klerk and the rest of their separatist henchmen, but this time the war is not against all black South Africans, it is against black South African Women.
The new study, conducted with a gender rights advocacy body, is the first community-based study of its kind with women in 12 years.
The group hopes to replicate the study across southern Africa. Lets hope the government opens its eyes and does something about it. As much as they do not care about women, they may care about tourism. Spend your dollars consciously when choosing a vacation or business destiny.
Melanie Nathan’s IDEAS TO HELP RAPE CRISIS IN SOUTH AFRICA
SOUTH AFRICAN RAPE REFORM
1. Educate the children, to change the culture that the party shamed in the event of rape is the perpetrator and not the victim
2. Provide TV Public Service Announcements and other Programs to veer from cultural acceptance,
3. Create a special Anti-Rape task force to investigate, advise cabinet and oversee implementation of reforms
4. Legislate Rape as a Hate Crime with higher mandatory sentencing
5. Special training for Police- add extra man and woman power to Police force through a designated budget for rape investigations
6. Improve Forensic and investigatory capabilities
7. Establish rape crisis centers on a per capita basis to match statistics
8. Treat victims with dignity by providing immediate care, validation and all resources needed to include:
Free Clinics, Immediate medical attention, free HIV testing; safe houses, ongoing trauma counseling, support groups, rape kits readily available
9. Encourage woman to come forward and through he concept of exchanging dignity for shame and by
10. Providing safety and security from further harassment and threats by perpetrators and their families through police transport and escorts when going to testify, immediate restraining orders for families as well as accused to maintain distance from Victims with stringent consequences for breach
11. Do not provide bail to perpetrators who have attempted to kill the victim and attempted murder is added to the charges; Bail must be high and a minimum amount set by legislation
12. Empower and teach victims how to report the crime and establish special rape courts with appropriate rules
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