South Africa has a rape problem


South African 17-year-old dies of gang-rape injuries
Wed, Feb 06 12:03 PM EST

By Ed Cropley

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – A 17-year-old South African girl died of injuries inflicted in a gang-rape at the weekend, provoking rare outrage on Wednesday in a country inured to some of the world’s highest levels of sexual violence.

The victim had been sliced open from her stomach to her genitals and dumped on a building site in the town of Bredasdorp, 130 km (80 miles) east of Cape Town, the Cape Argus newspaper reported.

The victim identified one of her attackers before she died, it said. Hospital staff who battled to save her life were given counseling because of the horrific nature of her injuries.

The case has echoes of the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a New Delhi bus that has triggered huge protests in India against endemic anti-female violence.

The Bredasdorp murder is unlikely to provoke such a large-scale outpouring of anger in South Africa, where women’s groups say rape has lost the power to shock.

“It is difficult to find reason behind the many different acts of gang rape, child rape, rape of the elderly, corrective rape and male rape,” the Women’s League of the ruling African National Congress said in a statement.

“Men and women need to join hands around this issue and fight this epidemic together. The Women’s League and a few women’s NGOs can no longer be the lone voices crying out against rape.”

South Africa’s statistics agency concluded in 2000 that it had the highest reported rape rate of all 120 Interpol member countries. Even when suspects are caught, only 12 percent of cases end in conviction.

Sexual crimes rarely spark media outrage.

One rare exception was when seven men aged between 14 and 20 went on trial last year for raping a mentally handicapped 17-year-old girl and recording it on a cell-phone video that later went viral. The case is continuing.

Even then, the incident spurred little beyond some soul-searching editorials and anguished radio phone-ins.


(Additional reporting by Stella Mapenzauswa; editing by Andrew Roche)

Read another article HERE

During our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light. SA our reaction to rape and murder decides our future destiny.

As you can see I am adding pictures of INDIAN protesters. It seems, and media reporters voice this, that South Africa stays indifferent to these horrible crimes committed to their women and children.


Just last week the Sowetan featured a story of a 13 year old girl suffering from Epilepsy being sold as a child bride to a Limpopo Sangoma.

In South Africa we have learned to to lift our voice never too loudly lest it might be interpreted as “intolerance” because incidents as the sold underaged bride are often excused with “but it is our culture”. In my eyes it is not a far shot from staying silent at the trafficking of an underaged girl to a “traditional healer” to creating a system where young men grow up believing women are there for the picking, resulting in gang rapes, resulting in agonizing death.

Helloo, wake up, somebody.

This one is painfully close to our doorstep. I am honest, I cried my eyes out when the news broke about the India rape. I cannot help but picture brutality of this incident, and am deeply shaken by it. The protests of these thousands and thousands of brave men and women was comforting.

But I am crying even harder at this one. Indifference is worse than hate, its a crime in itself. Uniting South Africa seems to be much harder than uniting India. All too long have we, under the mantle of shame because of our appalling history of Apartheid, felt we need to tread lightly around “cultural” issues. The different “treatment” of women in different ethnic groups within SA has even been legalized by the government allowing a Muslim or a tribal chief the “right” to all “take” several wives, while a white Christian would find himself in serious trouble should he be polygamistically inclined.

Now wait a moment. Do we strive to become a beacon of light to the rest of Africa and the world? What about that sweet BBC documentary “South Africa’s Path to Freedom” presenting us as such a fine example of reconciliation instead of hate?

I must say the statistics of Interpol rating South Africa’s the world’s RAPE CAPITAL, a women being raped EVERY 17 SECONDS rings in stark contrast to that in my ears.

Have we attempted freedom at all cost, letting weeds grow unchecked until they become a forest so twisted and thick that it is unmanageably deadly?

“Culture”can not be blamed for the way fathers raise their sons to treat women. We are not disconnected from the rest of the world, we have to adapt an international mindset.

And no, human trafficking is NOT okay, paying money for sex or marriage with woman of any age but ESPECIALLY under-aged girls must be severely penalized and RAPE needs to be publicly condemned in the sharpest ways and punished, no bail, no excuses.

Furthermore we need to wake up and understand that all SA’s problems are linked. If our government keeps its people ignorant, by building mansions with tax money while 123 learners have to share one classroom,  we must expect more severe problems to come in the future.

To me it is a strong pointer that the rape took place in the Western Cape, where recently many farm workers protested against daily minimum wages of 69 Rand and saw an increase to 129 Rand/day, leading to subsequent loss hundreds of jobs.

Are the farmers to blame, many of whom providing not only the wages but also meals and housing to their workers? Many farmers struggle themselves as it is.

Do we really see ourselves as a low wage country? This equation has long crumbled. A recent discussion at the University of Stellenbosch with German ambassador Andreas Kuehne revealed that South Africa’s products are long not competitive enough for international exports any more. South Africa’s production costs have risen with 134% per unit while European production costs have sunk thanks to higher productivity.

The key lies in #education. We underutilized our potential by keeping a vast part of our citizens in utter ignorance. One skilled, educated laborer can produce more than  15 unskilled ones because of greater foresight, ability to operate machines, less waste and breakage etc etc.

I am tired of hearing there is not enough work for a specialized work force. Listen, there is not enough work for ignorant people who do not care about their employer (burning down the farms that sustain them at awhim, burning libraries, hospitals and trucks), there will not be enough money for piece jobs and day labour anymore. This country produces, but the refinement of our products often happens overseas. A trained work force can keep the refinment of our product in land. Why not become an electronic superpower? Produce world quality foods and export luxury goods en masse instead of importing them?

think with me. Quality education for free for all in first world schools, perfectly trained and equipped teachers …  Educated labour – higher wages, higher buying power in local hands – higher market turn over, even higher income for our dear government, who could then give back into education.

No need to turn to crime. Pressure to perform. Fulfilled life, hope for future… and together we can make rapists extinct.


I am brainstorming roughly because I have a day job and two kids and just need to get this ball rolling somewhere! Are you with me?

As soon as my day allowes it I will talk today to other ministries, churches have volunteers and drama teams, we need to go 2 schools #stoprape  with agressive message that RAPE IS NOT EVEN FOR APES, it is wrong and rapists are criminal cowards who WILL be punished by both legal system and society.

Sex excesses, rape and pregnancy are big problems at all SA schools.

Its unacceptable and if we do not tackle it who will.

I am talking with friends to put together a musical drama show to tour schools with to educate that RAPE is wrong.

Comments and input welcome … this mommy needs to go make lunch now.


20 thoughts on “South Africa has a rape problem”

  1. Thank you for visiting and liking my blog. This pie e if yours is very powerful and struck a deep chord with me. In the ultimate analysis crimes like rape can only be dealt with when society as a whole acts to prevent it

    1. Thanks a lot! Its such a network of wrongs that leads to sexual violence, rationally one could just despair at the countless needs for change. I believe that even every small step towards promoting kindness, love and values can make a difference when its thousands of people taking those steps. Thanks again for commenting! Love your blog!

  2. Thank you for visiting and liking my blog. I found that this particular post of yours was very interesting. You said: “In South Africa we have learned to to lift our voice never too loudly lest it might be interpreted as “intolerance” ” I think this is also true of many things said about the Middle East conflict and the excuses made for Arab terrorism. I also think that when we excuse such atrocities as rape, female genital mutilation, child marriage etc. as a cultural thing to be pardoned in “Third World peoples”, it is a kind of inverted racism. It’s as if we are saying: “Oh, well, they are a primitive people, we can’t expect anything more of them.”
    Finally, I want to say that we all need to work together, men, women, Old World, New World and Third World, to end rape.

    1. Wow! Thanks for visiting my space, and for your comment! I totally agree on everything you are saying. Making like one race is not capable of universally valid human ethics would be racism. I believe we should all hold each other accountable to be kind, honest, fair and loving. Education is key. Thanks again for checking in!

    2. It is scary though, that young women get imprisoned in Muslim countries because they love somebody, young men get hanged because they might be homosexual, kids get stoned to death because they posess a bible, and the western world finds it fancy to build mosques in big cities? It does not add up. But if any preacher refuses to marry a gay couple because of his conviction, all journalistic hell breaks loose. What agenda is behind it, I wonder. Journalists, try save kids from being hanged, don’t bash a preacher.

      1. Its poor to read that, because it shows exactly the opposite of what you wrote above about “education is the key”. The Western world is something else than the “Christian world”. Christianity has political dimension too, which sanctified for centuries with biblical reference that what you criticize.
        The Bible teaches the same complementary standpoint on men and women as the Quran, which rests in the story of Eve being made by God only in second place and as a „helper“ for Him or as Paul later states in 1. Cor 11:3: „Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.“ And in Eph. 5, 22-24: „Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.“
        When Christians today try to root the social equality of both sexes in the bible they only react on the evolution of the modern society, which has fought the idea, that a woman has her husband as her head and that she can’t do certain jobs. Until the 1970s in Germany’s family law – as in many other Western/Christian countries – a woman had to ask her husband on permission if she wanted to take a job other than housekeeping. Women didn’t have equal rights to vote in elections (Switzerland made it possible only in 1971). Besides of some “liberal” Protestants most Christian churches and sects don’t accept women as preachers and pastors, because in their eyes the new testament forbids. Eve „ruined“ the position of all women under Christian rule for thousands of year because, as Paul says in 1. Timothy 2: „Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.“ Until 1997, like in many countries in the Islamic world until today, there was no explicit law in Germany to forbid rape in marriage (and Minister of Family Affairs Rita Suessmuth was forced in 1987/88 by her Christian Democrativ Party not to insist on it).
        History also tells us, that our modern way to solve social problems and act with ethnical or religious minorities, was not an invention of Christianity. The only religious minority accepted in Europe where the Jews. Their status was legitimized by the Christian hope that their rejection of the Christian Messiah Jesus would end at some time as Paul has prophesied. After Jews had been drawn out by Christian authorities for long time, Manasse ben Israel for example was able to convince Englands Puritan Leader Oliver Cromwell, to let the Jews in again, with the fine religious argument, that the return of Christ would only be possible if the Jews were spreaded to „all“ countries. Paul declares in the New Testament, that „the Jews killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men.“ (1. Thess 2, 14-15), because the Christian viewpoint of the events arround Jesus’ death wants us to know that: „ALL the people answered (to Pilate), and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.“ (Matthew 27, 25). This self-cursing – in a new, totally odd interpretation claimed to be a call for redemption through Jesus’ blood – is the basis of a nearly 1900 years enduring history of Christian rooted hate. As the Quran is the basis of aggression against (pagan) unbelievers, it also brought an early form of religious tolerance for christian and jewish minorities or majorities (“people of the Book (Bible)”) if they accepted of islamic rule and superiority by paying a special tax. When Muslims conquered the territories of the Byzantine Empire the Copts and Syrian Christians, who were severly fought by the Orthodox Church of Constantinopel als Heretics, welcomed the Arabs as liberators, and it was not until the Middle Ages (in some regions until the modern times), that there were Muslim majorities (mostly by voluntary conversion). During the Middle ages until the 18/19th century 80-90% of the Jewish Population lived in the islamic world, when in Europe Holocaust-like Pogroms (for example at the eve of the crusades 1096) killed thousand of Jews in the Rhineland.
        The question how to deal with minorities is a keystone in building a modern society. After the Reformation in Germany Protestant people had to flee countries ruled by Catholic leaders or where forced to leave. At the 1572 St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre in France thousands of Protestants were killed by Catholic „Terrorists“. The main political idea, formed at the time, when the Roman Empire, which had tolerated a plurality of diverse religious cults, became a Christian state, was still prevalent in 16th century, that there is only one state, one ruler and one truth and that all subjects of a state should adhere to it and form a uniform society. In Jewish-Christian political ideology, the highest ruler was God/Christ and the King was his best servant, who does not only had to protect his subjects against enemies but also heretic doctrines. As a precondition of their theocratic state, the Israelites were commanded in the Bible by God to kill every Kanaanite people in „His“ land.
        In 16th century, Catholics had to leave Protestant countries, too. Non-Lutheran Protestant Minorities (like non-Catholics in the Middle Ages), Baptists esspecially, were not tolerated, but killed or left for the New World. The Thirty Years War (1618-1648) although not only a religious conflict, is one of the heaviest outbreaks of intolerance. Churches of both sides were plundered and destroyed.
        Who ever looks at the Islamic World today and regrets the political situation of Christian minorities must also recognize, that most of the victims of Islamist Terrorism are Muslims of different (Shii, Sunni, Drusi, Alawi etc.) denomination, or the more western and liberal. This seems to be the new main break line: Those who want a more (or less) islamic state and the liberals and secularists, who want the – already in many respects adopted – Western model. But as the West had 500 years to develope it’s political system from within, fighting religious extremism and it’s influence on law and politics, the Islamic world tries to do the same in only decades and from without.
        “Young men get hanged because they might be homosexual” – Until arround 1800 hanging homosexuals to death was normal in Christian Europe and until 1969 they were sentence to prison in Germany. In Austrian Law it was possible until 2002. I think I don’t have to quote the parts of the Old and New Testament on which such laws where founded.
        As you may see “Modern West” is a culture that has developed in a long fight against such things, that “we excuse […] as a cultural thing to be pardoned” in our own “Christian-Jewish” cultural backround. No one would forbid Jews to build Synagoges because there are verses about stoning in the Old Testament and because there a some Ultraorthodox Jews who want to drive out all Arabs, Muslims (and Christians) from Palestine to let God build a new Theocracy. Therefore It does not add up to apply double standards.

      2. Oh hey, to have the time to write such a long post… Just food for thought for you there: just because something was done somewhere 200 yrs ago, and later found wrong and changed, does not mean we must condone the same thing nowadays to happen, right? To have the ability learn from mistakes seems to be one great virtue of humankind, I would like to think. And just use ur google… I do not think when you look for people that got their hands amputated, stoned to death, beaten to a pulp, that you will find anywhere a pastor or a church board condoning or even executing these acts but it is indeed muslim clergy that does thit and in their culture it is not a criminal act, whereas if somebody where to do this here, it would be punishable. And now can I just ask you to use your enthusiam to just DO something good, not constantly go and fight and argue with those whose compassion compells them to help. Thanks hey.

  3. Thankyou for reading my Blog. and thank you on behalf of all us mothers and daughters for publicising this issue. We are all wearing black here today in the call to try and promote awareness of this hige problem – Nikki

    1. Yes, it is good that our nation finally agrees on an issue … and I am really a believer in the power of the written word. Please look at some of my previous posts about the education issue in South Africa, that is, I believe a major contributor to the scourge in violence we are experiencing. If we do not educate our young men on what love is, we will have a generation of animals deprived of the higher pleasures of life.

  4. Excellent post.The crimes which being committed against women in the third world countries, India,Pakistan,Arab World are savage atrocities ,the United Nation and the local governments are doing nothing to stop these crimes.l have more than tens of posts about these subjects.jalal

    1. Thanks for commenting on my posts, Jalal, and thanks for your interest in this topic, as a man …
      I strongly believe that male-centered societies do not realise how they are hurting their own progress by oppressing their women. Just like the Roman Empire collapsed essentially when it did not value its farmers anymore, society that does condone oppression of 50% of their population is amputating it’s strongest leg. Without knowing what real love is, true faith is not possible. With real love understood, oppression is not possible. God created this world because He loves so much. He gave us rules to protect love, not to erase any possibility of it. Everytime good men look the other side, love dies. which is a crime. You see, I am an oxymoron, a critical realist who never stopped being idealistic about love. I hope my words help somebody, somewhere, to make a difference.

  5. Hi Christiane,

    I am so glad you put this blog into cyberspace. I wanted to write a blog about this young girl from Bredasdorp also… But where do I start… The emotion is overwhelming. She was someone’s beloved child. It was not enough that she was raped… no…. she had to be mutilated also.

    I will be following you … And hoping I can help somehow.

  6. Hi Meleney,

    Thanks for your encouraging comment to my emotional blogging.
    I must say I have really had it with all the excuses going on in the country as if abuse of children, women and even men is just a thing of culture. It is not and I am just not going to put up with it anymore.

    Here are my thoughts and my proposalon action NOW:
    Today I sat with our churches Youth guys and we are now choreographing a hip hop musical drama including a short talk by a hunky good looking African guy (head boy nogal) about why rape is just wrong. I have also arranged for trauma counsellor Barbara Louw to come and teach all our cell leaders and volunteers about how to respond to this type of trauma andhow to start the healing process. Furthermore I am pursuing a high impact Self Defense course to run for the whole community, partially sponsored by the church.
    I know the big cities have more resources and access to talented volunteers (eg year of your life) but probably also a higher bureaucracy and protocol threshold.
    I do not want to wait till a super polished show comes to our rural areas, so I am going to put together something right now.

    And how urgent is the call for equipped trauma counsellors in a nation where every third girl under 18 has been subjected to rape or abuse.
    Smart talks, brochures or even handing out condoms at schools do nothing to stop the out of control spiral of exual violence amonst the youth of our country.
    Africa’s medium is music and dancing, and we need touse those tools to expose the “rape apes” for what they are, and to bring civilian courage back so the “good kids” do not look the other way but get involved helping and taking a stand against abuse.

    South Africa was currently rated by Interpol as the world’s no. 1 rape capital, a woman raped every 17 seconds. That is bad enough but according to the Medical Research Council, more than one in four minors experience physical violence at home daily or weekly and more than one third of girls have experienced sexual violence before the age of 18. Its study also states that 40% of all victims who reported rape to the police were under 18 and 15% were under 12 years old.

    Another issue with sexual violence against minors in South Africa is the sexual abuse and harassment that is reported to occur in schools by teachers and other students. According to the Human Rights Watch, girls from all levels of society and ethnic groups have been subjected to sexual violence at school in bathrooms, empty classrooms, dormitories, and more. Police, prosecutors, and social workers have also complained that many incidents of sexual violence in schools are not reported to them because schools often prefer to deal with it internally, thus hindering justice against the perpetrators. The danger of sexual violence in schools has created a barrier for girls to seek education. HRW also reported that South African girls’ school performance suffers after an incident of sexual violence.

    So Meleney, I want to ask if I can purchase the file of your rape response poster from you to print it locally, and also your book.
    If you want to help me email the above mentioned thoughts to groups you think will respond. Definately need support on this one.
    I passionately suggest that churches, instead of dancing around with Shofar around a golden ark etc(sorry, something that as a foreigner found quite strange in some SA conventions), unite their volunteer talents and work to produce some kind of Anti Rape, pro humanity, pro values show that could go on tour in SA, or at least in just in their respective communities.

    I am also in contact with Louise van Rhynn from Symphonia, Quality Education for SA, who said there is too little involvement from the ministry hub in the education reform process in South Africa. Which is tough, but I can see why – every network is so busy with their own plans and protocol they have no open ears for one another. We deal daily with abused kids, white and black … there is no parent generation standing up to protect it seems. Mothers even holding down their daughters for their stepfathers seems to be common practice at least from what we see here. Meleney indifference is a crime just as murder itself. If the church does not step in, I wonder what todays youth will be like tomorrow.

    That’s all from my side, hoping to engage in further discussion,
    Christiane van Heerden

  7. Well written. You need to put your idea into a proposal if you haven’t done it already. I can help you with that if you like. Mail to my address.

    When you do focus only on the rape issue – don’t go all the way to Nkandla/farmer strikes/cultural and racial biases etc. It takes away from the topic. All those are valid issues on their own, but rape is a strong enough issue already.

    The ‘rape ape’ catch phrase is effective for the purpose you envision, namely a campaign aimed at educating youth. I can see it catching on very quickly. Don’t change it.

    My Rape Response Protocol initiative is also aimed at educating the public. I want to show all citizens and survivors of rape how to increase the chances of a guilty verdict so that rapists can be taken out of society and potential rapists ultimately be deterred. Rape is a repeat offence. Offenders usually have multiple victims. Getting a conviction and harsh sentence will save many potential
    future victims.

    We can definitely take hands.
    Write to Lead SA. When you mail me I will forward you a call they put out yesterday to citizens to stand up against rape, with relevant contact details.



  8. Hi Mollie. One thing to do isdefinately to raise awareness. We really created a big tweetstorm to dayon twitter topush this issue inSA and to mobilize the masses. Hopefully someof my over 1000 followers will retweet and get their friends involved. We do want to organize protests and put pressure on the government to aggressively penalize rape. We need to teach our children respect and self defense. Most rapists in SA are people known to thevictim. The whole country needs a major mind set shift. You can definitely pray, I believe that prayer strengthens those who are actively fighting evil.
    Furthermore I would be thankful to anyone who can contribute an empowering script etc to put on a musical that can go to SA schools against rape. I also need some sponsors for women’s self defense courses. So much to do …

  9. The magnitude of this issue in South Africa is something I had no heard about.Thank you for bringing it to my attention! What would you say is a good way to be involved, for someone like me, who does not have a lot of money to donate?

I would really love some feedback from you!

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