Voices

The Dros rape is an outrage that is all too familiar

2018-10-01 21:15

This week a 20-year-old man was arrested and charged with the rape of a six-year-old girl in the toilets of a Dros restaurant in Silverton, Pretoria.

The horror of this act must be put into context – it was one of four rapes that happened that hour. One of four that happen every hour, of every day of every year in this country.

The storm of protest and anger from women is desperately, maddeningly too familiar. Heart-wrenching. Anguish. Pain.

The national outrage by men rings hollow.

Entrenched patriarchy blankets our country like a rank, suffocating smog under which men believe they can act with violent sexual impunity.

It’s a national disgrace. It’s a global disgrace. As a man, look to your left, look to your right. If you see this behaviour, know this behaviour and do nothing then hang your head in shame. YOU are weak. YOU are complicit. Don’t say something, do something. Do something with meaning.

If this horrific rape was the visceral coalface of sexual violence, then this week’s testimony by US supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in his defence of sexual abuse accusations demonstrated the mind behind the entrenchment of male dominance.

Kavanaugh’s impassioned, emotive statement was littered with sniffs and sobs. How his family had been hurt. His reputation ruined. Republican judiciary senators leapt to his defence. An outrage they cried. It was so long ago. There is no proof. A smear campaign. But little understanding was displayed for what the woman went through, the courage she showed and the difficulty she faced, by coming out to tell her story.

We have an epidemic that has been ravaging us for years and frankly it is even embarrassing to say that we are shocked. But shocked and numb we are.

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October 21 2018