It is estimated that 40% of South African women will be raped in their lifetime and only 8.6% of rape perpetrators are convicted. Unfortunately, most people believe these rapes only occur in dark alleyways by hooded strangers. Rape Crisis’ new campaign reveals that the truth is a lot closer to home. 68% of rape survivors […]
Rape is a violent crime in which a person uses sexual acts to intentionally harm and hurt another. We cannot talk about rape in polite terms or hide the truth about it. Rape is an abuse of power and an abuse of sex.
It is important for rape survivors to understand the exact meaning of the laws on rape for two reasons:
- Firstly, a rape survivor needs enough information about the law to know whether her case has a chance of succeeding or not.
- Secondly, the survivor needs to know exactly what is expected of them to prove that the rapist is guilty in the eyes of the law.
The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act (Act 32 of 2007) has been in effect in South Africa since 16 December 2007. This law states that it is a crime to intentionally commit a sexual act against another person without that person’s consent.
In the world we occupy today, there are currently fewer women executives in the workforce than there are male executives named John. While this seems like an optimal moment to use the now infamous Hillary Clinton, glass ceiling metaphor, it turns out that getting on to the same level as this plethora of John’s is only the beginning of a women’s struggle in the work place. Surprise! More glass ceilings. Not only does there need to be a fight for a women’s success to equal that of John’s, but the false pretense that the struggle ends there only causes a woman to stop and say, “Wait!” when she looks down at her paycheck and compares it to that of her male counterparts.
The gender-wage gap is not a new phenomenon. In fact, as Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Selma James discuss in their writing “The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community,” how capitalism pushed women further and further out of the workplace to the point where men were the primary wage earners and a women’s skills were wasted as she is reduced to her domestic work. However, discrimination in the name of gender is a complex animal and, of course, one glass ceiling would have been far too easy for a woman to break. Even when women shed their soapy, latex dish-washing gloves and join the work force, the system tells them that they are still not worth the same as men.
By Robyn Raymond
On paper, it’s relatively easy to counsel. Rape Crisis and other counselling courses teach that the main components of effective counselling include active listening, observational skills, body language, counsellor self-awareness and empathy. All of these skills allow for the opening up of a field of healing – a space where the client is the central focus and as a counsellor, you become a facilitator of healing in this safe space.
The difficult part of counselling comes in the form of having to manage your responses to the pain people offer you to hold for them. The number one question I am asked is ‘that must be so heavy. How do you deal with that?’ well, Rape Crisis had us trudge through our own hurts, our histories, our responses and our triggers, to essentially build a protective barrier. This boundary acts and looks like a stronger version of ourselves so that we are solid when the bricks of another’s identity try to intercept our foundational truth. Those bricks are heavy, and they tend to fly in from nowhere, unannounced.
It is the end of my Honours year. I am at a party to celebrate. I am shivering, despite the warm evening as I stand with a group of my classmates on the patio. We are anxiously waiting to hear if the two girls who left the party to go for a walk and did not return, have been found. Someone comes running towards us out of the darkness. He takes a breath, “the worst has happened”, a pause… “they have been raped”.
I have thought of those words many times in the last five years. I have been recalled to them again in the past few weeks as another spate of highly publicised rapes (and murders) infiltrate my consciousness:
RAPE IS THE WORST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN TO A WOMXN
I hear this message echoed in the words of Judge Kgomo as he hands down sentencing to serial rapist Christian Cornelius Julies in the North West. “It is unquestionable that if he was not stopped in his tracks, belatedly though, the devastation of girls and women’s lives would have continued”.
As sexual trauma is held within the body, it can leave you feeling numb, disconnected or overwhelmed by emotions. Rape Crisis is offering a course using a combination of simple body movement, breathe work and mindfulness techniques to help you reconnect to your body in a safe and gentle way. Learning how to reconnect to your body after sexual trauma is a powerful step on the road to recovery.
This course is open to adult women survivors (18yrs and older) who are past, present or possible new clients of Rape Crisis. Being in counselling is recommended, but not necessary as a counsellor will be present at each session. Participants are asked to commit to the full 6 sessions.
When: Weekly every Thursday, starting the 4th May until 8th June 2017
Time: 10:30am – 12pm
Spaces are limited to 10 participants so please call to book by 26 April 2017: Angela or Khabo on (021) 447-9762 or email email@example.com
- Follow: The Rape Survivors Justice Campaign
- Follow: Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust
- Speak To Us: 24-hour helpline: 021 447 9762
- Become a writer for Rape Crisis
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It’s also the story of one of our country’s specialist sexual offences courts and how this court helped her do it.
Walking home from a friend’s house one Sunday afternoon nineteen year old Dalia realised she was going to be home later than she had told her parents. Taking a short cut through an abandoned building , she surprised a group of gangsters smoking tik.
All 10 of them raped her. All 10 of them were known to her.
She finally made it home very late to her frantic parents. Even though they were all afraid of how they might be intimidated, Dalia’s parents supported her wish to report the men to the police.
Many rape survivors silence themselves. They feel such a confusing mixture of shame and guilt about what has happened to them that they struggle to speak about it. They wonder if they could have done anything to prevent it and feel vulnerable at the thought of other people knowing about it. Counselling gives rape survivors a space to find the words that will help them heal.
There is an American televangelist—Pat Robertson—who shares a birthday with me (22 March and I like chocolate, in case you were wondering). But date of birth aside, him and I have precious little in common. He is a rampant homophobe, sexist and racist; justifying his opinions by cowering behind the cross. He has said things to rival Trump but he hit the nail on the head when he said that feminism “encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians”. I can personally attest to the accuracy of Robertson’s supposition. Since identifying as a feminist I have worn my Che Guevara t-shirt publicly, started dating women and have been called—on numerous occasions by numerous men—a feminist bitch (the ‘b’ replaces the ‘w’ in the antifeminist cis-het-man dialect). And I as I have yet to find a husband or breed—as far as the leaving and the killing are concerned I can’t make any promises. The salient point here is that I am a full-blown feminist. And proud of it.
My story begins when I was just four years of age – yes I remember a lot of things since that young age. I was not yet in crèche and the family friend took care of me. A man sexually abused me daily by laying me on the small bed and flipping through a porn magazine. At that age I did not understand what kind of magazine he was looking at. I remember that his wife always wore a lot of bangles and jewellery so I was always waiting for that soothing, comforting sound of her bangles clinking together because then I would know he would stop now, zip up his pants and help me down from the bed.
I was then again abused at the age of eight right through to 10 by two different men, one was also a family friend the other was my own cousin. Surely at this point I understood what was happening because at school they taught us to say NO if somebody touches you inappropriately yet I couldn’t say no. I didn’t have that luxury at all because in my mind this is what I was created for, for men who I thought I could trust to use me as they wished. They were the adults so they were always right in my mind. I did not confide in anybody, I was too ashamed and embarrassed. When I ended up opening up to a close friend of mine at age 11 years, she went to tell her mother and her mother put so much fear in me I shut up for many years after. She threatened that if I spread such rumours I will end up in jail.