South Africa is a buzz over the gang rape of a 17 year old girl in Soweto. As anyone with eyes, ears, and half of a brain understands, rape is a huge issue in South Africa. Women are raped everyday, in various places, and with various objects. The heads of government know and understand this fact all too well. These men in power are not new to the rape culture that fuels the sexual violence in this country, and I am not too bold to say, that many of them have too taken part in such hatred and dehumanization.
Nonetheless, what is making this gang rape of this child so explosive in this country? WHY THIS TIME? This same 17 year old girl has been rapped before. She was kidnapped and held as a “sex-slave” in Soweto in 2010, as well as another incident of rape that same year. All reported to the police, and both cases dropped because of “lack of evidence.”
Rape is clearly only taken seriously in this country if it is recorded and sent to as many blackberrys and iphones as possible. So this is what it has come to? Without a video or photo attached to sexual violence, it is obviously not as tangible to the people in power, the government, the police, those charged with protection of their people.
South Africa’s leading newspaper reported that “Police spokesman Kay Makhubela said soon after learning of the video Tuesday, police, with help from people in Soweto, arrested seven men who appeared in the video.” So this is what victims need, for their rapists to pull out a cell phone and record the whole ordeal? Then the victims should ask them to politely post it on youtube as soon as possible. Thanks!
I am not making light of a situation, but I am trying to draw attention to the JOKE of a legal system here. Sadly, when rape is taken out of the private sphere and into the public sphere (a youtube video), it becomes political.
When a video goes viral, this young girl is no longer a victim, but a part of a political agenda, a name to drop out of the mouths of various politicians and law enforcement officials who say they take rape seriously. Well I call bullshit, these tactics are no longer enough, no one is blind to the fact that this video has put pressure on South Africa’s leaders and that is the ONLY reason this child’s rape is being addressed.
This system has failed her, and not only her, but the millions of women and children she represents. South Africa is failing it’s women.