Hard lesson for Malema

A SPECTACULAR blow was struck yesterday against crude patriarchal language when Equality Court magistrate Colleen Collis found ANCYL President Julius Malema guilty of hate speech. Malema had ventured to say the woman who accused President Jacob Zuma of rape must have had a "nice time" because she stayed on for breakfast and asked for taxi fares.

A SPECTACULAR blow was struck yesterday against crude patriarchal language when Equality Court magistrate Colleen Collis found ANCYL President Julius Malema guilty of hate speech. Malema had ventured to say the woman who accused President Jacob Zuma of rape must have had a "nice time" because she stayed on for breakfast and asked for taxi fares.

The magistrate articulated a view we hold along with many when she admonished: "(Mr) Malema, being a man of vast political influence, be wary of turning into a man that often speaks but never talks."

That Collis ordered Malema to make an unconditional public apology within two weeks and pay R50 000 to a centre for abused women within one month is peripheral.

While we defer to the rape trial judge and affirm that no rape took place, the crude language such as Malema's would have had the potential effect of preventing women from laying rape charges for fear of being ridiculed and victimised if those they accuse are not convicted.

Whatever populists are tempted to say on public podiums, they should never use rape as a nice sound byte.

The unfortunate preponderance of rape in our society might have made a man some ridiculously believe has the making of a future head of our state forget that rape is still a callous crime that no woman deserves to suffer.

Perhaps Collis should have tossed Malema inside one shelter to see the traumatised look on the women's faces or hear their stories. He'd know rape is no laughing matter.

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