Rape culture in South Africa and how you probably(unaware) contribute to. 

It’s 2017 and your living in a country that has been called “The world rape capital”.Although it might not be so. So you still walk around not giving two of your brain cells on such a topic.If you’re male you are probably oblivious to this since it almost doesn’t happen to us ‘men’. You are already the perpetrators ,as offensive as this might feel to you at least ask yourself who is doing the rapes then.It was never meant to come off as an attack, remember we are in this together because each person contributes quite a lot to solving such issues. Here is a few of the many things also that not only men do that perpetuate rape culture. I will start with defining the term. 

  1. rape

    culture

    1. a society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse.

2. Silence : For a word so simple it sure goes a long way in causing a lot of devastating consequences. Here is a scenario to further explain this point. Imagine you are talking to someone, this can be friends, family or a total strangers. As the conversation casually proceeds the other person makes a daring statement. They say something like “women these days are just looking for rape, I mean how can you blame men for raping them?”.As uneasy as that sounds it is quite common for people to say.From my experience it is usually around men.

After that statement being made you keep quiet, maybe you do understand how wrong he/she is but you don’t bother. I mean you just want peace right? Without even realising,you have just created a problem that might even later manifest and affect not only you but a lot of women. And here is why.Keeping quite on an important issue like this basically shows your support for that statement, intentionally or unintentionally. This all then approves of the action being proposed, which is rape if your still unaware. So you continue on with your life as usual and so do they. 

You do not realise is that they are going to continue spreading such views and ideas to friends, family and worst of all children. Many other people also kept quiet upon hearing such disturbing statements.They are just be doing the same thing you did after all, wanting peace right? Fifteen years pass and millions of other people found themselves in the same situation and were silent,for a range of reasons. You have a child now about age nine,young and full of hope. While going to school she(or he because a lot of people seem to forget that young boys also get raped, which people don’t talk about too in media as much as they should),got her buttocks grabbed by everyday guys that patiently await them at street corners.You think she would say something but it’s not the first and most likely not going to be the last time she experiences this.It happened to her friends before and they were told it’s what boys do.

 Countless times she has seen you keep quiet when that talkative friend of yours made exactly the same statements as that time,or uncle Tom when he was drunk . And again she would see you keep quiet. Remember that time you told her women who dress “that way ” will get raped but never explained that it was never their fault?well she was getting a false message from that. The church ladies shame girls who experience sexual abuse and say how do you expect men to react when you do the things you do. The things the ladies being referred to do you ask, casual clubbing and dressing as they felt.I mean a lot of men do the,but no one criticises them. Many children and women ended up getting raped,because of the notion your silence gave to the rest of the countless aggressive men that found courage to proceed with this sexual assaults. Those views went through a lot of people’s ears.For those of whom it stayed with they would also spread them to other people.They will teach that to young boys who will then later assault women too . From those countless moments of silence you can imagine rapists and women abusers were being breed.

 Now your child is in class with other pupils,some with those views and ready to guard them when necessary .Rape statistics have went high as they always have since that time you had that conversation. You and those countless other people that kept silent have without intention,put so many people in danger.But it was never your intention,and could you have known really . And all the regret won’t count as rape culture thrived like a wild fire. Unfortunately you and other adoring parents won’t be there to save even your own children from ubuse. That’s why it is important for you to speak up, even though it might not go through that person. At least you showed them that it isn’t okay at all.You showed them and any other person that was listening,that you and the rest that also spoke up are not going to be bystanders. You will challenge their ego with kindness and eventually teach them something. 

3. Culture belief :This one usually leaves people divided when it comes to the topic. Maybe because people have a false understanding of what culture itself really is & means. Culture is collection of views and traditions that require to be given complete respect and devotion …much like religion. What most people don’t ever realise is that these are things initiated by someone/groups of people in power, either fair or unreasonable it was something someone came up with and most people had no say about it. It then became part of their daily dynamics.Ultimately becoming ingrained in our cultures, and as mentioned before no one was to dare question this so it persisted into today.

 Don’t get me wrong,most of these practices are harmless.But the harmful ones play an important role in maintaining dominance over the lives of people and usually throughout human history this was over women whose voices were not to be heard. Next time you want to defend certain ignorant views bare this that in mind. Culture is absolutely wonderful and is part of everyone’s identify.If certain practices then interfere with some part of your life and prevents you from living your life to the fulfullest then it is useless. 

In South Africa culture sometimes promotes rape culture,okay at least from how society portrays it. In some tribes women did not have much of a say in how their lives turned out. The power over their lives was then taken by their families or husbands.As soon as someone is made to feel like they don’t have much right on their body, it is then the beginning of a cruel life not worth much. 

In most cultures men are taught to be the providers of the family,which is unarguably a good thing. But women are then taught to just bear children and do as told, this is usually after being forced by family to marry someone they never wanted.Again this takes all power she can have on her future and ultimately her body. They are expected to be obedient for if they don’t they are said to be bringing shame to the family. That is if they even manage to speak out against husbands  who could have been familiarised with the use of violence to get what they want,remember some men still have this mentality. This creates an environment rape culture can thrive in. 

Unfortunately these views and practices seem to have still made it into the new modernised South Africa. It is sad that most girls will be born to be subjected to this, although not as extreme as back in the days. Culture or not,everyone has the right to their body and what happens to it.Sexually provocative or very toned down every woman has every right to dress as they want. I really do not understand how someone’s dress code can be turned around and then seen as them holding a times square  sized billboard saying, “hey guy! I enjoy being raped and spent all my time dressing up just for you to rape me…like that’s what I came on earth for”.These men deserve nothing more than being locked up.

Somehow this is not so clear with society and I have to spend time addressing this. Educate yourself and stop being ignorant wherever you may be in the world. The girl child has too much to overcome and you being neutral in important times isn’t just being quite…it is taking the side of the perpetrator.

(I made the artwork myself by way) Thank you for reading if you enjoyed this please like, share, comment or press that follow button for more. “may the rain anchor the wild flowers of peace “~☔⚓🌻.

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    2 Comments

    1. It was a great read. Most of what you pinpointed was quite true especially with regards to culture. Patriachy is a system put in place by humans and therefore will be dismantled by humans. Writing about it’s negative effects on women is a step forward.

      Liked by 1 person

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