Tuesday, 1 November 2011

"Entitled" to rape

In last Monday's Pretoria News ( their site is currently under construction so I can't give you the direct link to the article, but if you have October 24th's paper by any chance it is on page 5 under "Study finds motive for rape worldwide") Esther Lewis reports that in South Africa, 70 % of men who have raped someone felt "entitled" to do so.

How does anyone feel entitled to harm another? ENTITLED???? How must your mind work? How can you not respect another human being enough?

Even worse, the research ( done by the Sexual Violence Research Initiative) revealed that most rapes of girls under the age of 15 and gang rapes are done out of boredom and "for fun". Raping for fun? For fun??????

The article further states that 17 % of the men that rape were raped themselves, that 45 % said their mothers were rarely at home and that 72% said their fathers weren't at home very often either. Furthermore, 3/4 of those interviewed said they had raped someone before their 20th birthday.

I was watching Special Assignment or Fokus or something on SABC once and they reported that 50% of South African children grow up without their fathers. Now I wonder if this can link to the 56 272 people that were raped between April 2010 and March 2011. That would be round 154 people per day and 6 people per hour.

The article states that boys "need to be socialised at school and community level, and taught what it meant to be a boy or man, and to gravitate away from violence". But should not a parent, a father, take responsibility for their son or daughter and teach them right from wrong? I think the high level of single-mother households and absentee fathers is partially to blame. Who are we to learn a moral code from when there is no one to teach us?

Perhaps it also depends on the level of education and the support from people around one that the child receives. My father left when I was around 11 and my mother had to find a job very quickly. However, my sister and I turned out rather well because we always knew that she was working so much to provide for us and that in turn our responsibility was to work hard at our education. One need not be rich to feel accomplished in life.

According to the article, most rapists had been exposed to childhood trauma. Does trauma define a person? Does it either bury you or make you rise above it? I don't know. Mine was not very traumatic.
But I believe there must exist a basic humanity in all of us. There must be something pure that is corrupted by circumstance. I don't understand how we cannot see each other as equal. By respecting you am I not also respecting myself?

I don't think one can blame anyone for one's own choices. I am excluding mental instabilities and psychotic problems here, but in the case of people of sound mind and body everyone is responsible for their own actions. Sure, life beats some up more than others, but ultimately, you choose your own reaction.

          Adrienne Rich
There is a cop who is both prowler and father:
he comes from your block, grew up with your brothers,
had certain ideals.
You hardly know him in his boots and silver badge,
on horseback, one hand touching his gun.

You hardly know him but you have to get to know him:
he has access to machinery that could kill you.
He and his stallion clop like warlords among the trash,
his ideals stand in the air, a frozen cloud
from between his unsmiling lips.

And so, when the time comes, you have to turn to him,
the maniac's sperm still greasing your thighs,
your mind whirling like crazy. You have to confess
to him, you are guilty of the crime
of having been forced.

And you see his blue eyes, the blue eyes of all the family
whom you used to know, grow narrow and glisten,
his hand types out the details
and he wants them all
but the hysteria in your voice pleases him best.

You hardly know him but now he thinks he knows you:
he has taken down your worst moment
on a machine and filed it in a file.
He knows, or thinks he knows, how much you imagined;
he knows, or thinks he knows, what you secretly wanted.

He has access to machinery that could get you put away;
and if, in the sickening light of the precinct,
and if, in the sickening light of the precinct,
your details sound like a portrait of your confessor,
will you swallow, will you deny them, will you lie your way home?

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