Johannesburg - Academic, human rights and gender activist Rhoda Kadalie on Wednesday called for decisive action against rape, in an opinion piece in Beeld newspaper.
“CNN reported that the Bredasdorp murder was the 'tipping point' for South Africa. How many tipping points do we need?” she said in a column published in the Afrikaans daily, 12 days after 17-year-old Anene Booysen was found disembowelled and dying on a Bredasdorp construction site in the Western Cape.
“Prominent citizens like Jay Naidoo deliver passionate pleas to men to stop... the Gender Commission adds its voice to the angry chorus, but does nothing to educate the public.”
Kadalie said she despaired about the government's “inability to stem the tide of this epidemic.”
The annual 16 days of activism against gender violence was a futile campaign to combat violence that, to some men, had become second nature, she said.
As with the high rate of poverty and unemployment, men would continue to use women as “shock absorbers for their frustrations and emasculation”.
During her 21 years as an academic at the University of the Western Cape, she had worked with student leaders and observed significant progress in the fight against sexual violence and harassment, Kadalie said.
“The university established a tribunal where cases were heard and the law was applied. Offenders were suspended and professors who exploited women students were disciplined.”
She called for commissioners who could sit in magistrate's courts to report on how rape cases were processed in the criminal justice process.
“They should monitor police stations to see if victims are treated with dignity... they should ensure that the number of convictions is improved upon annually and they should insist on sexual offences courts.”
Furthermore, they should co-operate with NGOs working for teachers and principals to encourage the inclusion of sex education and reproductive health in the curriculum, she said. - Sapa