Rape : South Africa’s shame.

south africa rape

South Africa is a democratic country with a proud tradition of overcoming apartheid and struggling for human rights.

 So why does it have such a high incidence of rape?

 I’m Jerry from Newshour and we’ll be talking about this later today.

Why are we covering the topic this week?

Because on Wednesday the trial is due to resume of the men accused of raping and killing one of South Africa’s best-known female footballers and lesbians, Eudy Simelane.

She was the victim of what has come to be known in South Africa as “corrective rape” – the specific crime of targetting people because of their sexual orientation, a practise which has led human rights campaigners to condemn the “culture of impunity” surrounding  such attacks.

On Tuesday’s show we will hear some disturbing and shocking personal stories……..women who have had to deal with the horror of being raped, young men who laugh when talking about how they view rape as normal, a man who for the last twenty years has been campaigning for women’s rights but has to live with the memory of the rape he committed when he was 15.

We’d also like to hear your stories and views on this topic. If you live in South Africa, is this something that has affected your life or people close to you? Is the government taking the crime seriously enough?

 Perhaps you think the media makes too much of the issue? Whatever your views, wherever you live, we’d like to hear them.

And if you want to hear the programme, tune in to Newshour at 1200GMT on Tuesday 28 July….or listen back online.

25 Responses to “Rape : South Africa’s shame.”

  1. July 28, 2009 at 11:02

    The Socio-political climate of South Africa coupled with disillusionment in the post-Apartheid era precipitates propitious circumstances that is an enabling ambience for the Rapists to thrive and move scot-free after committing this heinous crime.The abyss of ignorance in line with abject poverty,not to mention austere living conditions and pathetic squalor exacerbates Rape in South Africa its indeed a big shame to the Country at large; they should remember that,” A good deed is never lost: he who sows courtesy reaps friendship; and he who plants kindness gathers love”.I advise them to shun Rape and subsist in concord with each other…from VKELVIN of Makerere University Kampala.

  2. 2 Ann
    July 28, 2009 at 11:50

    South Africa is by no means the only country where rape is a problem. It happens all over the world. It is about having power over women (and sometimes men). It is a violation of the most personal kind and leaves terrible emotional scars on the victim. The reason it continues is because men get away with it quite frankly, sometimes because the law is not rigorous enough, sometimes because it is not implimented properly and sometimes the woman is too ashamed to speak out. But the culture of impunity that seems to exist in South Africa (and numerous other countries) is shameful. For a society to not make stringent efforts to uphold basic human rights to half it’s population is awful. And those men, including Berlusconi in Italy, who talk about rape as though it was joke, really need to consider what they are saying. They might not make the same joke if it was their wife, their daughter, their sister or their mother that was raped.

    Forcing yourself upon a physically weaker human being is not a mark of strength, it is a mark of a coward.

    • July 28, 2009 at 12:46

      Ann, remember it happens world over ,but South Africa is the leading country in Africa with HIV/AIDS! Most probably rape is the major cause of all this terrific havoc wrecking the moral fabric of S. African society…sort of psychological trauma,disillusionment…economically ravaged country and a tinge of adventure probably is disturbing the South Africans.

  3. 4 Nigel
    July 28, 2009 at 12:33

    Maybe we are seeing the resurgence of a cultural phenomenon that defines the role of women in tribal terms that had been supressed for many years. It will not be welcome in the new SA but will the new leadership be able to deal with it given the doubts over the leader’s own morality?

  4. 5 Deryck/Trinidad
    July 28, 2009 at 12:44

    Rape is the result of those that are not empowered trying to gain some sense of power. Empowerment doesn’t mean money or political power, instead it refers to one’s view of oneself vis a vis individuals and society. It is a mental sickness that many the world over suffer from.

    In some societies it is endorsed and acclaimed therefore it will be very difficult to re- educate communities that view rape as the norm.

  5. 7 Rob (UK)
    July 28, 2009 at 12:51

    Rape occurs anywhere that men can get away with it. If there was a higher chance of men being punished, they wouldn’t bother.

  6. 8 patti in cape coral
    July 28, 2009 at 13:20

    I agree that rape is about power, and it is obvious, as Rob says, that it occurs where men can get away with it. I also think it is the result of ignorance. I heard a BBC report that said that certain men in Africa had a belief that if they slept with a virgin, they would be cured of their AIDS, which was resulting in much younger girls getting raped. I think the solution lies in education and stiffer sentences for the perpetrators, but I agree with Deryck that it will be very difficult as rape has become a normal part of life.

    • July 29, 2009 at 07:44

      Absolutely not convincing, patti in cape coral,I want to inform you that:
      1.Rape is not difficult to eliminate in societies which are economically viable,liberal and educated through sensitization.
      2.Africans have never and will never agree with you that having sex with a virgin cures AIDS … can you really substantiate this Propaganda? These are mendacious testimonies you quibble around with; this information you have given is vexing and being an African, living in Africa,I am astounded by your words.If you are well informed,then could you please give evidence to your allegations….Its terrible and you are ill-informed.
      3.Rape is not about power;Its about grave disillusionment in South Africa.The debate is about S.Africa but you are trying to generalise your views…
      4.VKELVIN of Makerere University Kampala waiting for Patti in cape coral to prove the allegations made about African men.

      • 10 patti in cape coral
        July 29, 2009 at 13:09

        Hello VKELVIN- Here is another link to the storry from the BBC that I heard.


      • 11 patti in cape coral
        July 29, 2009 at 13:27

        Hi VKELVIN: Sorry, I should have put all these links together, but here is a link from an African science magazine:


        P.S. I am sorry to disagree, but I believe rape is about power. I don’t think that is generalizing, I think grave disillusionment in South Africa the source of a feeling of powerlessness in a lot of men.

      • 12 patti in cape coral
        July 29, 2009 at 15:55

        Hi VKELVIN – I have sent several sources, but for some reason, they are not showing up on the blog, it looks like my stuff is being moderated out. In any case, there is a lot of information on this on-line.

  7. July 28, 2009 at 13:33

    South African men who rape deserve nothing short of castration! Can you imagine that ”South Africa has the second-highest number of HIV/Aids patients in the world. Around one in seven of its citizens is infected with HIV. Free anti-retroviral drugs are available under a state-funded scheme” Big SHAME to all Rapists in South Africa..Style up and be men enough to contain your amorous advances on naive girls and women in your country…This should stop and I hope you will reform, VKELVIN of Makerere University Kampala..

    • 14 patti in cape coral
      July 29, 2009 at 14:18

      @VKELVIN- I sent another link, but it was moderated for some reason. In any case, these reports are easily accessible on-line, they are numerous.

  8. 15 KC (Uk)
    July 28, 2009 at 15:07

    It’s a tragedy that men have to resort to rape as a way of asserting themselves. Rape has existed for a long time and until men start to think with their brains instead of the tissue that exists between their legs, there is no hope for progress.

  9. 16 Jennifer
    July 28, 2009 at 15:17

    I think no matter where you go in the world there are men who think that because they are physically larger than women they can use that to get what they want. I think the main factor in how one decides what is acceptable treatment to the opposite sex is how one is taught to treat others. This isn’t just what parents say to their children and how they are raised but it’s also in what relationships they see between their parents and others in their life.

    Rape is never acceptable. I think that in the case of “corrective rape”; it was just one way of trying to excuse these actions. Real men do not rape women.

  10. 17 tipsylife
    July 28, 2009 at 15:19

    A wider psychological change is overdue in South Africa. There continues to exist a sense of lack of ownership and this might be the reason some backwardness still persists.
    This country continues to pride itself by holding traditional pageants of purported ‘virgins’ who parade at open air royal annual events where young women are made to proudly show off bare large butts and boobs in a backward culture which ought to have been dismantled. It is the high time its leadership and citizens woke up to purge some of these feasts of ignorance which are the likely precursors to rape and rapid spread of HIV Aids.
    As if this is not a problem already, they are now in the news for bad reasons; xenophobic attacks and looting of properties of ‘foreigners’. Leadership alone cannot prevail if not backed by concerted effort by ordinary men and women of South Africa who should contribute to a more positive image in future.

  11. 18 Anthony
    July 28, 2009 at 15:58

    As to why is pretty easy, it’s a cultural thing. How you stop it would be a bit harder to figure out.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  12. 19 T
    July 28, 2009 at 17:32

    Keep in mind that rape survivorsare both women AND men. By not talking about both, you’re only adding to the stupid taboo surrounding this. Especially in a place like South Africa.

  13. 20 RightPaddock
    July 28, 2009 at 20:10

    SA has the highest rate of rape, the second highest murder rate and the highest assault rate, but it doesn’t even get a mention in the list of the top 30 prosecution rate countries. I doubt SA can address the issue of rape other than within the issue of addressing the problem it has with violent crime of all sorts.

    When I was a teenager in 1960’s the “theory” that homosexual girls could be “cured” by having heterosexual intercourse was a commonly expressed notion. I’m not aware of anyone ever tested the “theory”. A few months ago I heard group of 18-30 year olds expressing exactly the same ideas; the boys boasting they could “cure” lesbian girls, the girls boasting that they could “cure” gay boys. I have no reason to believe that these particular youngsters would ever put their ideas into practise. Finally the “lesbians can be cured” theory is often given voice on mainstream male oriented TV sports chat programs, some football codes have “problem” with rape and excessive alcohol consumption.

    The idea of “curative” rape is not peculiar to SA, because the above relates to life in Australia, where I’ve little doubt that some would have put their ideas into practice.

    I’m not convinced that “power” is the primary motivator in this “type” of rape. Xenophobia may play a role, and a “parenting instinct” might a;so be a factor especially in the case of “females curing gay men”, which also introduces an incest dimension.

  14. 21 Deryck/Trinidad
    July 28, 2009 at 22:35

    @ David Price

    Black communities in South African townships. Listen to the podcast on Newshour from 12:30GMT 28/7/09

  15. 22 leo goki
    July 30, 2009 at 00:22

    there has to be a nationwide campaign going all the way to the grassroot communities stressing the fact that a person’s sexual orientation cannt be changed by sexual intercourse also as someone said people who participte in such coorective rape should be prosecuted and if found guilty i personaly do not think that the death penalty would be too harsh for convicted rapists.

  16. 23 James Ian
    July 30, 2009 at 10:27

    I just don’t understand how a man could be aroused enough to have sex with a woman who obviously doesn’t want him.
    I just don’t think I could function that way if I knew the woman didn’t want me.
    A person that could rape another person must seriously be messed up in the head and has no place in society.

  17. 24 Dennis Junior
    August 12, 2009 at 19:58

    It is a shame on South Africa, with the rapes that are going on in the country….on women that don’t believe in the same requirements of love….

    =Dennis Junior=

  18. 25 Kayden (SA)
    September 1, 2009 at 18:49

    Being a citizen of South Africa, it is my worst fear as a woman, to be raped. It terrifies me. I find it indescribable and most disgusting that a man/woman can actually be that violent as to sexually harm another person. Sexual intercourse was supposed to be sacred. Who made these rapists God, and gave them the right to take what is most pure from someone else? It’s ridiculous. I certainly agree with the death penalty ,if found guilty.

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