Jen Thorpe discusses Kenny Kunene’s disastrous examples of ignorance regarding rape, and argues that his comments regarding his statutory rape of students require investigation by the police.
The annual silent protest takes place across South African on the 19th of April.
In 2006 Wiser hosted a discussion titled: What was at stake in the Zuma trial, and the panellists were Tawana Kupe, Anton Harber, Deborah Posel, Robert Muponde and Irma du Plessis. Since then across WITS there have been panel discussions, workshops, seminars and research meetings about rape, usually placed in the wider context of gender based violence and and sexual harassment, but no discussion has centred on how we think about rape and why. This event will consider how rape is theorised.
Meryl Jagarnath discusses the way popular culture has begun to use the term ‘rape’, and how this is problematic for her. ” “Rape” is used either negatively to represent damage (“That chemistry exam raped me”) or positively, representing triumph (“Yeah, I raped that chemistry exam”, “Did you watch the game last night?”, “Did you see how that football team got raped?”). The casual use of “rape” undermines the seriousness of sexual assault. And when I point it out, I’m seen as being too serious or “not getting the joke.” ”
Amy Heydenrych explains that she knows drinking and driving is wrong, and is aware that being drunk makes you more vulnerable. But surely, in today’s current environment of sexual violence in South Africa, we as women do not need another rape threat?
Liza van Soelen speaks about the rape crisis in South Africa and posits one solution – “It has just been Valentine’s Day, the day the greeting card industry asks us to show our love. Some of these greeting cards cost close to the R100 that could help a rape survivor heal. Support them.”
Lisa van Soelen responds to a piece on victim blaming: “We don’t really need to open a discussion about ways women can minimize their risk of stranger rape; we’ve grown up hearing, at home and from friends, of ways to stay safer. Moreover, women have a good dose of common sense about our well-being; we don’t actively look for danger.”
Discussions about rape and rapists often seem to end up in the declaration that rapists are monsters. They are evil beasts who prey on women and children. Often they are spoken about as sub-human, or not human at all, they are animals.
Mike Baillie disagrees
I am tired of rape in South Africa. I am tired of thinking about it, reading about it, hearing about it. I am tired of the fact that last year over sixty thousand women (enough to fill the Greenpoint stadium) reported a rape to the police, and hundreds of thousands more women were raped but did not report…So on the 14th of February I’ll be supporting One Billion Rising – a movement that will voice its frustration with all of these things. Because I am tired, but I will never be tired enough to stop fighting for women’s right to sexual pleasure, sexual freedom and sexual equality.
Tam Sutherns bemoans the tolerance of sexual violence in South Africa and asks what we’ll do about it in the new year