Thursday, April 19, 2012

Abuse Amuse

The gang rape dominating the headlines this week should make every South African feel very uncomfortable. Despite statistics which show that the accused in gang rape cases are less likely to be found guilty or that 1 in 9 South African women are raped, it appears that the nation needed graphic videos of a mentally challenged, teenage girl being raped by 7 men to go viral, before they were moved to action.

In a country where rape is seen as everything from a right of passage and a cure for lesbians and AIDS to entertainment on a dull Saturday night, can we really afford to be silent even for a second?

In somewhat related news the Alpha Boyfriend, an Internet meme has been successfully doing the rounds. It involves a girl telling her boyfriend something in a sweet way and him responding by punching her brutally. Apparently it’s ‘only a cartoon’ and those calling it offensive have been accused of creating a furor over nothing.

The ability to see domestic violence as humorous requires a society that has normalised violence against women to such an extent that it no longer seems wrong.

Racist, sexist and xenophobic jokes have always been the fire starter to the brutal main act. A way of desensitising the masses into believing that the plight of the perceived 'other' is trivial and 'deserved'.

Makes me think about the 1956 protest against pass laws, when 20000 women staged a march on the Union Buildings. A song of strength and courage that was composed for the event: Wathint'Abafazi Wathint'imbokodo! (You strike a woman, you have struck a rock). Now decades later like every other old song it seems to have been remixed. Something along the lines of…

You strike a woman and the nation will remain as unmoved as a rock.


Kweli said...

I've kept out of SA news for a while. Thanks for reporting. Blogs are also another way we run into our need-to-know news.

desert demons said...

Hi Kweli :) the sad part about rape related stories is that everyone freaks when the details are shocking and awful and then forgets about it until the next one instead of seeing it for the destruction it is and doing something about it. Feeling bad is not enough!