After the recent events in India, I wanted to revisit this blog post I originally posted back in April:
Much of the recent discussion related to the India bus gang rape has centered on the prevailing attitudes towards women in the country and the systematic failures of the police, judicial system, and culture to address the issue. And that’s where I want to circle back to on the South African gang rape case. Seven teen appeared in a Johannesburg court April 19th for the gang rape of a mentally handicapped teenage girl. They stand accused of holding the underage girl as a sex slave in Soweto and filming the alleged incident, which later went viral online in South Africa. I first heard about the incident on ‘Connect the World’ with Becky Anderson.
I believe South Africa to be a culture where sexual violence against women is endemic. South Africa has the worst known figures for gender based violence for any country not at war. And this issues isn’t simply one limited to the vast townships … Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s current President, had rape charges filed against him in 2009 showing just how pervasive gender violence is.
For context … Over 40% of SA girls first sexual experience will be forced. More than 1 in 4 South African men admit to raping a woman. Worse, 1 in 3 girls in South Africa has been raped. Meaning a woman born in South Africa has a better chance of being raped than learning to read.It’s been claimed that rape is a sport for young men and boys in South Africa. A terrifying phenomenon among today’s SA youth is ‘jackrolling’ or gang rape, such as the act perpetrated on the young woman that spurred this blog post. According to one article, over 44% of rapist in SA had partook in a gang rape.
Just like in the case of India, there are few convictions stemming from mistrust of police and marginalization of rape victims. It seems not near enough is being done to combat the situation. There are several good articles regarding how to address the issues in both the South Africa and India case, however, I would stipulate that the place to start is changing the value place on women in these countries.