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Stop victimising victims of rape

Stock photo.
Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Artit Oubkaew

I have noticed that the main reason rape victims don’t want to come out and report their ordeal is not because of the fear of the perpetrator but of the public.

Society has stigmatised rape and made it look like it is the victims who are at fault, hence their reluctance to come out. In the end, we have rape victims who choose silence over being ridiculed should they share their sexual-abuse experience.

Rapists therefore escape the jaws of the justice system and the long arm of the law because victims choose to be silent out of fear of being verbally victimised by society. This is very wrong because the victims burn from within, for life, as they remember what they went through, but can’t share with the public because they might be chastised.

I once came across a post on Facebook asking: “Would you marry a raped woman?” To say I was disgusted with this question would be an understatement, as it made my heart skip. I couldn't believe that a normal person could have the audacity to ask such a painfully embarrassing question.

There is no person who qualifies to be called a “raped woman” because being raped is not an adjective, it can’t be used to describe somebody. We can’t use people’s unfortunate situations to describe them; that is gross and inhumane. Society always looks at victims of rape as dirty people as if they chose to go through that painful situation.

Rape is a cruel trauma, we must reach out to victims of sexual crimes and hold their hands. We need to liberate our minds and make it our social responsibility to give them support and strength, instead of judging them for something they didn’t inflict on themselves. The people we should be dealing with are the rapists, and ensure that they are brought to book.

May we rise up and change the way we look at this scourge. Let us stop victimising the victims.

Malphia Honwane, Gottenburg eManyeleti

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