Stop rape horror, save womenfolk

Stop rape horror, save womenfolk.
Stop rape horror, save womenfolk.
Image: 123RF Stock Image/ lculig

Every year when the police ministry releases crime statistics, the one figure that grabs the attention more than any other statistic bar murder, is rape.

The figure for the latest financial year stood at a mind-blowing 109 rapes a day. Officially, just a tad under 40000 women were raped in SA between March 2017 and April 2018. It is common knowledge many more rapes go unreported, some even venture that any official number tagged as the official rape statistic needs to be multiplied by two if we are ever going to be anywhere near the actual statistic. It is that bad.

Rights activists and other like-minded people have always pointed out that many survivors of rape are reluctant to report the crime because more often than not they fall victim to what is termed secondary rape at the hands of law enforcement authorities.

Those who witnessed the testimony on Monday in the rape and sexual assault trial of pastor Timothy Omotoso in the Port Elizabeth high court will now have some understanding of the kind of battering that awaits rape survivors once they muster the courage to report the crime.

Omotoso's defence lawyer had to be reined in several times by the judge regarding the type of questioning he directed at state witness and rape survivor Cheryl Zondi, whom the pastor is alleged to have sexually groomed and slept with from the age of 14.

The defence alleged she went to a Durban gathering of the church ready to be raped by Omotoso. To top it all, she was asked how far the rape accused had penetrated her.

Now, how could anyone violated in this manner have the time to figure out just how deep the rapist went. Is this not being raped all over again? We are glad that judge Mandela Makaula called attorney Peter Daubermann to order.

We can only wish Zondi well as she fights a battle all too daunting; we also marvel at her courage, that she was even prepared to be named as a rape survivor in the type of society we are - which is largely prepared to dance to the beat of patriarchy almost all the time.

Fragile victims of predatory, often all-powerful, men in society need to be given the full support if we are to beat back the monster that is killing this nation.

What nation can afford to violate its women and girls as much as we do?

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