There is an outpouring of outrage against rape after last week’s attack on Anene Booysen.
On average, a person is raped every four minutes, making our country the rape capital of the world.
More than a thousand people attended a memorial service for Anene Booysen. Picture: Jeffrey Abrahams. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS
We have a right to raise our voices. We have a right to point fingers. We have a right to express our anger.
But it is critical for us to take this collective rage and turn it into concrete outcomes that will make a tangible difference in the fight against violent crime.
Let’s focus on what we can change and not fixate about what we can’t.
What follows is a list of who can and should do what.
President Jacob Zuma: expressing outrage is good, but it’s not enough. The government needs to act. You need to declare that we turn 16 days of activism against woman and child abuse into 365 days of activism. To show you’re serious, let the flag be flown at half mast for a week in honour of those who have lost their lives or been victims of rape.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and national commissioner General Riah Phiyega: bring back the specialised police units to deal with violent and sexual crimes. Invest in training officers. Ensure every policing precinct has a special facility where victims can report cases and be treated with dignity.
Justice Minister Jeff Radebe: introduce special courts like we had during the 2010 World Cup to deal with rape cases. Speed up the trials. We need dedicated magistrates and prosecutors. Ensure more stringent measures are in place when dealing with bail for rape suspects. And as for the guilty, let the punishment fit the crime.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga: education and awareness about rape is vital. Reinforce the life orientation curriculum. Have workshops at schools to inform our children.
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini and Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana: assist victims of rape and sexual abuse. Put money into counselling services. Raise awareness.
Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi: rape victims cannot wait in queues at hospitals, clinics and district surgeon offices to be examined. Introduce specialised facilities countrywide.
Politicians: use every available platform to speak out against rape.
Shout SA and other activist organisations: arrange events where men can publicly pledge that they will not rape. This will help in spreading the message.
Men in South Africa: take a stand and lead the fight against rape. Speak out! Protect our women and children. Sign the pledge. Speak to your sons and teach them to respect others’ bodies.
Rape survivors: be strong and break your silence. Report the culprits to the police. Don’t protect rapists. You should not feel ashamed.
NGOs: continue to serve those in need. You are doing sterling work. The public and private sector must assist you financially because there is a widespread shortage of resources.
Religious and traditional leaders: use your platforms to talk about the evil. Tell your congregants it is not culturally acceptable.
Fellow citizens: take note of the 10 things you can do to make a difference. Rape victim Michelle Solomon has listed them. Go to http://journoactivist.com /2013/02/07/but-what-can-we-do/
Assist your local rape crisis centre by volunteering your services. “Clothing is always needed, as rape survivors’ clothes are taken for evidence, especially underwear. Donate toys for the kids.”
Become an active citizen. It’s time.
Media: in the spirit of Lead SA, let’s stand up, do the right thing and make a difference. Let’s unite against rape.
Rapists: we’ve had enough. Our nation is uniting and we won’t tolerate your despicable behaviour. You can’t rape in my name or the name of millions of other South African men. Don’t think you can overpower our women and children. Your days are numbered! And if you happen to be a woman rapist, be warned.
NO MEANS NO!
Yusuf Abramjee is Prime Media’s head of news and LeadSA chairperson.