Is the world waking up?

Lydia Polgreen from the New York wrote an excellent article about rape in South Africa.  In it I find both encouragement and outrage at injustice.

What I find so encouraging (not the story itself, but the aftermath):  In Bredasdorp South Africa Anene Booysen was able to tell police who rape her before she died of the wounds she was given.  She was only 17 and was raped and murdered.  The names she gave to the police was one of a ‘friend’ Zwai (Jonathan Davids) and who his friends were.  The very next day Zwai and another man were charged with rape and murder.  The attack produced amazing outrage that has become a national symbol of what truly is an epidemic of violence against women in South Africa.  Ms. Polgreen writes this is similar to other…”cases that have forced national soul-searching on sexual violence plaguing India, Egypt and Brazil.”  Though the alleged perpetrators were not convicted (more on that later) the movement for awareness and change is growing.  “Booysen’s rape and killing brought a furious response.  Singer Annie Lennox led a protest march in Cape Town.  A radio station played a chime every four minutes as a reminder to listeners of how often a women is raped in South Africa.”  And, well, politicians have given speeches.  It seems the whole nation is outraged at this bloody, extreme, unresolved rape and murder of a girl of 17.  Hallelujah!  May we all be outraged.  An appropriate emotion for what goes on and on all around us.

 

What I found discouraging:  In this particular case the prosecutors said they did not have enough evidence to charge the men. What?  Did they try DNA?  Unfortunately this kind of result is common. 64,000 cases of SV are reported each year, and as I write in my book, South Africa has one of the highest rates of rape in the world.  Ms. Polgreen writes, “Studies show that number vastly understates the epidemic, suggesting that hundreds of thousands of cases are not reported.  Of those that are, fewer than 10 percent result in convictions….”The study just alluded to also says that ineffective prosecution, shoddy police work, and a justice system that fails to take crime against women seriously.”  So, why report?  Why tell?  I would imagine helpless and hopeless is just magnified for survivors and their families. “A 2009 study by the Medical Research Council found that one -quarter of the men admitted to raping someone, and nearly half of those men said they had raped more than once.”

Do we think it is much different in the U.S.? I hope the prosecution and conviction example of Penn State is a model for change.

My two passions are to promote education that can go a long way in our generational patterns of thinking and being, therefore help change us.  Secondly, I long to see survivors get moving on a Recovery Road so that the SV is not defining them, but they are defining it.

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