Are violent stats on the rise, or are we just speaking louder?

24 Mar

A few years ago on social media, somebody made the statement that there seems to be an increase in crimes, particularly rape. Being in the activism space for many years, we understand that the amount of cases has always been very high and the amount or unreported cases are even higher. So in response to that, I personally believe that we have always had a problem but with social media and more individuals speaking out, the rest of the world is now noticing and listening.

Fast forward to this week. Three separate incidents occurred in South Africa, incidents that have been happening for years but no action has been taken in the past.

The first was the case of the brute verbally attacking a mother in a Spur steak ranch. After watching the cell phone video as well as the CCTV recording, I can honestly say that I support the women’s actions. I am not a mother but I can only imagine how angry she was after seeing a huge man manhandle her child I such a manner. I salute her for standing up for herself and for her children. If this had occurred in the early 90’s or before, the woman would have probably remained silent and allowed the abuse. This behaviour from the white man is the aftermath of apartheid, where certain white folk feel that they have the right to override, disrespect and ridicule black people, not seeing us for ourselves or believing in our power.

This incident sounded a number of alarm bells for me.

  1. Why did he feel he had the right to discipline another child? If an incident occurred on the playground, which happens all the time, would it have not been better to ask to speak to the mum and try resolving the issue in a rational manner. After all children are emotional creature who need to be taught.
  2. Why did he feel that he had the right to verbally threaten her, by saying he would give her a P%$# Klap. Then he had to be pulled away by other male patrons and staff after trying to attack her.
  3. Would he have acted the same way if she was a white woman with her family? That is a question we cannot truly answer but judging by his demeanor, he clearly did not respect the woman as a mother and as a human being.
  4. The woman taking the video, it is shown that her husband or partner wanted to intervene and she told him not to get involved. As society we are very quick to watch and get involved but when its time to take a stand we back off. Fortunately he finally stood up, jumped over the table and assisted to restraining the perpetrator.

 

Rightfully so, this created a social media outcry. Many of us, standing in solidarity with the mother who was verbally abused. With every incident there are two sides of the story and many were saying that she provoked him and that her language was uncalled for especially as she is a mother. After seeing the CCTV footage that the Spur restaurant posted I can honestly say that I stall stand in solidarity with her.

Then I began to read a few threads where people posted that this was an isolated incident that was blown out of proportion. I strongly disagree, these incidents have been happing for years but now people are tired and frustrated, now we have social media to prove the facts, now we are woke.

The second incident was the hash tag #Taxirape

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According to www.Citizen.co.za this was reported:

 

Several women have come forward and described going through a similar ordeal.

A Johannesburg woman was reportedly raped in the back of a taxi in front of her 10-year-old son during a four-hour ordeal after boarding a taxi on Sunday morning.

Eyewitness News reports that the woman boarded the taxi on Ontdekkers Road and was held at gunpoint by three men who allegedly raped her and withdrew money from her bank account several times after they forced her to hand over her ATM card and PIN number.

The woman’s harrowing ordeal has exposed several other cases of woman in the province, who have also been raped after being picked up by men in minibus taxis.

The first two cases were reported to police in the Roodepoort area last year, and several more cases were opened in Soweto, according to EWN.

The woman described how her young son was told to lie face down on the floor of the taxi as she was raped on the backseat of the minibus. She said her thoughts during her torment were about how her son would be affected by the ordeal.

“Then I could not imagine the whole time that I was there was praying that they wouldn’t even touch him,” she said.

Gauteng police reportedly said they were examining CCTV footage from ATMs and following up leads as they investigate the rapes of the women. Police spokesperson Lungelo Dlamini said they were searching for the suspects after no arrests were made in all the cases reported.

The woman said she hoped by speaking out about the incident, she could encourage other victims to come forward and potentially help prevent more attacks.

 Like all forms of sexual assault, this action can only be seen as a barbaric, inhumane and revolting. In my opinion rapists should be locked up in a small cell, with a cyanide drip attached to their genitals. Gruesome, I know, but sexual assault causes a tremendous amount of trauma, pain and psychological damage on any individual. After reading many news reports it has been concluded that this is not the first time, women have reported such crimes. In this case, this was the 8th reported incident where women are collected by a Quantum van, thinking that it’s a taxi. After getting inside there is a supposed female passenger seated with three male passengers, this passenger then gets off shortly after the pick up and the three remaining male passengers then proceed to rape and rob the new female passenger. Once again major alarm bells were sounded:

  1. If this was the 8th reported case, why was there not an outcry after the first one or second one? Whys did SA Police not issue a warning to all commuters to be on the alert or even more, engage in conversation with the taxi association?

I don’t need to rehash my previous blogs where I have discussed how certain officers do not handle rape cases with the correct protocol.

  1. Is the female passenger who exits the taxi, the same person in every incident, is she assisting the perpetrators?
  2. The woman in this case was travelling with her 10-year-old son, who had to witness the whole ordeal.

 

The social media outrage is well justified and important issues have been raised. In many previous cases the survivor is blamed and in all the posts and comments, people are finally standing in solidarity with the survivor, perhaps as she was travelling with her 10 year old child.

There has been a louder and stronger voice from our men. As women have been fighting this fight for centuries, we need a stronger voice coming from men, after all this is not a women’s issue but a global issue. If a woman is raped or abused, she did not ask for it but over the years we have had to pay for the repercussions and fight the fight alone. The time has come for men to stand up and prove their manhood by portraying dignity and justice. We need to create platforms where men can engage in dialogue, debate and conversation. Be truthful about past experiences, what they have been taught and what they have done. We need to talk and seek help from professionals who can provide platforms for healing and re-education. Growing up in apartheid brought a multitude of challenges for non-white people, it created a society where women were not seen as human but objects, only to be undermined, ridiculed and spat on, it stripped men of their dignity and pride. All of these and many more elements will obviously have an effect on how children perceive the world and society; this was then passed down from generation to generation. In countries where apartheid was not present, the element of sexism and racism has always been alive. Men are still making decisions on women’s reproductive rights, discussing the definition of rape and abuse etc. We need to change the thought pattern. Gender roles in the home should change.

The third incident has left me flabbergasted. The hashtag #Sesethuvideo.

A young girl apparently posted a sex video of herself. So the debate of young people recording sexual videos and masturbation is a whole new blog for another day.

The news reported that the girl was under age and that the video was leaked. We could argue, why did she record it? Who did she send it to and why is this person not been brought to the forefront and questioned?

My concern is that the increase of people wanting to watch and indulge in child pornography, because that is exactly what it is. I looked on my timeline on Facebook and Twitter and the among of requests from people asking for a link to the video, some making jokes about it, one even being so brash as to say that he will pay for data to anyone willing to share the video. I have posted some of the posts below and subsequently removed these individuals from my timeline.

We have already come to the conclusion that as a society we need healing after the amount of abuse and hatred out there but have really stooped so low that we are eager to watch a pornographic video containing an underage girl? Nobody is perfect but we need to be able to draw the line between right and wrong and distribution child pornography is illegal and unnecessary.

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In conclusion, we need to collectively bring about change. I do believe it is possible. Look at the city of Kigali in Rwanda. The government embarked on the 20/20 vision campaign to clean up the streets. At present Kigali the safest city in Africa, women can roam feely without the fear of being hurt or raped, corruption is eradicated and the streets are spotless.

 

 

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