Given that we are yet again in another ‘women’s month’, society needs to stand up for the rights of all women, lesbians, little girls, mothers and grannies alike. We should not continue as if the violence against them is normal.

A while ago, a young woman was sexually assaulted at the Noord Street taxi rank in Johannesburg for wearing a miniskirt. The perpetrators accused her of being indecently dressed. They claimed it was people like her who tempted men into raping women.

Despite SAPS statistics, it is not clear how many people in our country get raped because of the trauma that comes with such an experience, which makes people reluctant to report rape, resulting in under-reporting of such incidents. Often police are blamed for traumatising the survivor by asking too many questions or by just being indifferent.

An 82-year-old and a 94-year-old granny in KwaZulu-Natal were recently brutally raped. A daughter-in-law of one of the women told reporters: “I have never seen my mother-in-law so hurt. Gogo has been a pillar of strength in this family. She was able to plough and cook for her great-grandchildren, but since the incident she is always weeping and does not want to leave the house. She is emotionally drained.”

The silence of communities illustrates the complex factors that influence people’s attitudes regarding rape and the desire to keep serious crimes, including rape, secret.

But while people might try to justify cases of rape, nobody is prepared to explain how an elderly woman, sleeping peacefully at her home at night, could invite rape.

Thembisa Shologu, Johannesburg