As discussed in our previous article, attrition of rape cases in South Africa is a matter of serious concern. The RAPSSA Report found that there were many different factors influencing the attrition of rape cases as they move through the criminal justice system. Some of these were due to the inefficiency and inconsistency of investigating […]
Crime is a systemic problem in South Africa and every year a huge number of cases are reported to the police. In 2017, for example, there were 49 660 sexual offences cases reported to the police in South Africa. But in how many of these cases does the offender actually go to jail? You would […]
Writing about rape. Where do you start?
Such a sensitive topic, so prevalent in our society today. It is therefore so important to write about it, so that we can broaden people’s awareness about rape. We want to write about rape because we want our words, stories and theories to change into actions and understandings. But how do you write about such a painful topic without over-sensitising or re-traumatising people and still putting rape survivor’s everyday lived experiences on the foreground? With this question in mind, I went to the Writing about Rape Workshop, organised by the Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust.
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and children. The campaign runs every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day. It was started in 1991 by the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute and in 1998 South Africa joined the campaign.
These 16 days encourage all people living in South Africa and other participating countries to speak out and call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and children. #HearMeToo is the theme for this year’s United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and one of the goals is to highlight and show support for activists and organisations that fight against the abuse of women and children. This year the Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust will highlight some of the many organisations that we work with who work to improve the safety and rights of women and children in South Africa every day.
Rape and violence against women is endemic in South Africa, but it is a thorny subject matter. How do we bring this discussion to the foreground in South Africa, what are the words we use, and where do we start?
Words matter. They matter because they are carriers not only of information, but carriers of feelings. When they land, words have the power to heal, revive, restore and educate but they also have an enormous power to debilitate and to trigger. But words are our thoughts, and without them we cannot speak, so how do we use them when we speak about rape? A violent scourge plaguing South Africa, encompassing noun, is not the heart of the very word [rape], triggering in itself?
It’s been a busy first quarter, not only making progress towards our programme targets but also building the strength of our organisation and forging better links with outside stakeholders. We have a vision of a South Africa where rape survivors are supported in their homes, by their communities and within the criminal justice system. We’re making it real.
“SA shocked by murders and rapes”…“Spate of women and child murders-a crisis!”
These are just some of the headlines we have seen over the last month in the media, focusing on telling the stories of violence and horror inflicted on women and children.
The immediate reaction for many is one of shock, despair, anger and panic. For many South Africans, their first point of call for expressing these emotions is social media.
News stories are often shared on Facebook and accompanied by comments such as “rape in SA is getting out of hand,” “government is failing us,” etc.
The other reaction is a “knee jerk” one, which begs people to ask, “How did this happen?” Others immediately think, “How can we tackle this crisis?”
But let’s just stop and examine the facts before panicking and throwing around this word “CRISIS”.