A few things on my mind

Archive for November 2013

This morning, I read an article about the ‘Birthday rapist’ plea for mercy.  I have spent the past couple of weeks trying to find reason in this madness. While trying to collect my thoughts on what my opinion was on the level of abuse that the women and children in this country are going through – I shared my feelings out loud with a group of female colleagues and quoted the below.

“In the worst organisations no one holds anyone accountable, in the good organisations the boss holds people accountable, and in the best organisations everyone holds everyone accountable.” Al Switzler

I plagiarised a bit and replaced the word organisation with country.  What followed was the good old argument that women are allowed to dress as they like and not fear for their lives – children are allowed to play in their neighbourhoods and not fear being hurt.

All fair and well – I completely agree, but that is not a situation we are currently in. Everyone researching South Africa comes across an article warning them of the crime stats – particularly our rape statistics – we have been dubbed as ‘The rape capital of the world’ – isn’t it time that we (South Africans) all understand that we are in a state of emergency and stop behaving like we have the best security or legal systems to address this scourge.

You would not go into a war torn country without the necessary protection – why are we then walking around as if we are not at war here.

I recently moved into a new suburb. On the second day of my moving house, a woman who has taken to patrolling our streets, found me at my gate after work and introduced herself. It was little after 6pm. While talking to her, I noticed two guys sitting at the back. The front passenger seat was empty. Because I am nosy, I asked her to explain what was going on there. She was giving the guys a lift down the road. They looked very healthy, it was not dark, and they were going down the road – I politely requested that they walk home and politely told that woman to stop giving lifts to strangers. I mean really chick – WTF.

There have been many academic suggestions on how we deal with rape and rapists in this country – most are long term plans; including the re-education of our men, our boy children, better court systems and policing. If we go back to Switzer’s statement, how about until all the above is done, we all start being a bit accountable.

As a start, how about the following:

  • No children are to be without adult supervision – this should be everyone’s responsibility
  • Women must not go anywhere unaccompanied 
  • Retail outlets (clubs, malls etc) need to employ the services of private security companies – and make sure they are visible  

And most importantly, the boss needs to come out strong on this issue – and declare a state of emergency – being horrified is just not enough.