By Jen Thorpe
President Zuma has nominated Mogoeng Mogoeng as Chief Justice. There are numerous reasons why this is, quite simply, a dubious and silly nomination and one of these is particularly significant to me.
The Mail and Guardian released a story today describing how Mogoeng had made dubious judgements in relation to domestic violence and rape. His judgements seem to say that he condones marital rape, that violence against women is acceptable if there are no bruises, and that women do not have a right to say no to sex within an intimate partnership. His statements go against women’s rights, and against the Sexual Offences Act.
Above this, they show little respect for women, and a very poor understanding of the impact of rape. The after effects of rape on a survivor (and the community in which they reside) are psychological, behavioural, physical and social. They occur regardless of whether a person is raped by a stranger or somoene you know. They occur regardless of prior sexual history, and regardless of previous sex with the rapist.
In the 2010 South African Police Services crime statistics over 68000 sexual offences were reported. In this category of crime it is common that survivors do not report for fear of retaliatory violence, stigma from their communities, blame, or lack of faith in the criminal justice system. With the incredibly low conviction rates that we have in South Africa, reporting a rape is an incredibly brave act. We must support these survivors who seek justice for themselves, and to protect others from the rape that they have experienced by prosecuting and imprisoning the perpetrator.
If Mogoeng is made Chief Justice it will send a message to rape survivors that they are not supported by our Criminal Justice System, in particular our courts. We cannot allow this.
I have started a petition that says that we don’t want this. Sign it here. Sign it now.