I know a rape victim

I know a rape victim. On a day that started as any other did, it turned when a group of men exerted themselves on her tiny frame and changed her life forever. Psychologically, emotionally and socially… she will never be able to access the woman she was before. I know another rape victim. On a day that started as any other did, it changed when he was led home from a gay bar under false pretences and raped by three homophobic straight men who changed his life forever. Psychologically, emotionally and socially… he will never be able to access the man he was before.

I know a rape victim.

Because of someone else’s imbalanced reality, these lives will never, ever be the same again. No matter how much patchwork is done on the outside to reinforce a semblance of self-esteem, the psychological repercussions will travel with them forever, wherever they go. One day, when love arrives and their heart hopes to be happy again, the mechanics of how those souls plan to live out that love will draw them back into the trenches of their own uninvited war.

I know a rape victim.

No one is safe, anywhere. The school set up by media mogul Oprah Winfrey was host to violence against women and children charges. A prominent writer for the Mail & Guardian, the Washington Post and the BBC was herself a victim of this endemic epidemic. A national cricket player has been accused of rape. Our President has been accused of rape. Both had their charges dropped in overturned cases. Corruption-related or not, consider this: South Africa has lost an estimated R650-billion to corruption over the last 18 years. Think about the positive effect of the power behind that money had it been used for legal repercussions and enforcement that contributed to a safer, kinder South Africa for all. There are 29 different crime categories used by the SAPS for reporting crime stats. So? What difference does it make when the whole system is so out of control that the statistics these departments are using to reclaim their budget allocations are bullshit anyway?

“Crime expands according to our willingness to put up with it.”
– Farber, Barry J.

There is much support, in theory. People take to social media to join fan pages, “like” statements, pledge their concerns by joining groups – but then what? Pierre de Vos expanded on this when he pledged not to get involved in the slew of online noise about the issue (and in doing so, he did). In his article ‘Why I won’t join the chorus of voices protesting against rape’ – he makes the point that:

“…pledges by men that they oppose rape and respect women run the risk of once again turning women into helpless and vulnerable victims in need of the protection of men, thus reinforcing the gender hierarchy that lies at the root of violence against women.”

These ‘helpless victims’ are a very real populous of faces behind the staggering statistics and heartache, and yes, while the viewpoint of de Vos is to highlight the issue of our inter-gender relationships, he does nothing to highlight the legal and moral repercussions against these monsters among men. Well… that’s because there aren’t any.

No one is safe, anywhere.

I am a man. I am a South African. I live here. I hear the news. And then I meet these victims, because you will. The basic math means you will. The Bill of Rights in the Constitution of South Africa sets to ensure the rights of all South Africans. It has failed us. These rights have become unhinged and still, there is not enough noise across our nation about those being trusted, counted on and paid to make this a reality for the citizens of our country. Why?

No one is safe, anywhere.

I know a rape victim.

You know a rape victim.

Men rape women. Men rape babies. Men rape lesbians. Men rape men. No matter who you are and where you live, if you are a South African citizen, you are on the brink of sexual slavery.

Yes, you.

We all know rape victims.

What are we saying when we don’t say anything at all?


Need help? Want to help? Get started. 

Women Against Violence Against Women

Step 1 Foundation

Catherine’s Inspiration for Kids

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

One Billion Rising

Crime Statistics South Africa


© Dylan Balkind

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