Give me 5 minutes – maybe less

Bear with me – just for five minutes. I’m skidding in under the closing garage door here; I know that everyone’s attention span regarding rape is shutting down, but I have something, a last minute-delivery.

See, we’ve heard the horror, the shouting, the spats that have broken out on the edges of the crowd as we turn on one another in helpless anger, but out of it all one question has emerged: what can we DO? (*the Anene Booysen story:

So, it’s come to me, and I’m bringing it to you; it’ll take five minutes to unpack this delivery and assemble the answer.
We need to know why. Not what you or I think – not the reason for this or that isolated incident – we need to get to the root of it all.

This is how
We need to assemble a task team – not a lame-arsed commission or a politically blind enquiry – we need clinically-minded, objective forensic psychiatrists and experienced interviewers to go to each of these convicted rapists and investigate everything.

We need to know where they live, what they use, what they watch, their level of education, their financial situation, their cultural or religious input, their age, their social standing; the circumstances surrounding the specific crime and whether they have done it before.

We need to know if they have spent time in prison; whether they are part of their community, whether they have any physical or mental illness, and we need to test for substance abuse and alcohol dependency. We need to hear from them what they were thinking: about women, about children, about their victims, about the families of their victims and their own families.

What will emerge from this are many differences and some similarities: we’ll have some idea of what’s driving this insane wave.

Now you can say to me: You’re crazy – who is going to do this, who’s going to pay for this?

Well, we are.

If we really give a damn about stopping this, we’ll lobby for this, we’ll wear black for this – we’ll march & write & clamour for this – we’ll #tag it, raise money for it.

We know we can afford it; there’s plenty of money out there being spent on frivolous crap and endless court cases. And it doesn’t have to cost the earth – the SAHRC, a few universities and the SAPS can put it together between them and make all their facilities available. A few important theses and award-winning articles and documentaries could emerge from this investigation, and we’d have some actual answers on how to address this in a real way.

The only thing that could stop us from doing this is us. If we don’t really want to know why, if it’s OK to shout about death penalties and poverty, but please, don’t confront us with reality – that’s all that would stop us from moving heaven and earth to set this up and see it through.

I’m done – what do you think?


11 thoughts on “Give me 5 minutes – maybe less

  1. Excellent Idea! I read a book a few years ago based on interviews with 9 jailed rapist, the sample size was too small but i agree that with a large sample size it will give us a real basis to work from.

    We live in a country overflowing with hurts, frustrations and a feeling of powerlessness, mix that with the fraying moral fabric of our society and the lack of any real community spirit and the recipe is ready for the violence we see, violence against women, violence in crime, violence in “solving” disputes

    I am support your idea and if there is no political meddling we will get more than a glimpse at the underlying factors and then a real chance to address that and chance our country for good!

  2. I would agree with you, but I think we already know the answer. In general, and particularly in some cultures, people are not brought up to regard violence towards woman as abhorrent, or to realise that those that practice it are pathetic failures, far less than men. In fact, many of these warped creatures regard it as something to brag about, sniggering.
    The trick is to get all communities as a whole to alter the mindset. Slogans like ‘rapists are cowardly baboons’ might help.

    • the study would help people to find out about themselves – plus, there’s a flood of serious drug use washing over townships and rural areas – bad, bad substances like methamphetamine and ‘nyaupe’ – no-one hears, so a study might highlight this.

  3. I agree Jo! It’s a challenge. Having been a survivor of rape many years ago, I have also been left with so many questions as to why it happens. I dug deep at the time (12 years ago), and one of the things that stood out most for me about these rapists, was a need to control, coupled with a chemical imbalance. I’m available if you need my help in any way. xxx

  4. Dear Jo.
    What a well-thought idea. I will definately elevate this to my colleagues and commissioners, and I am sure they will be interested in doing something. Regards, Isaac Mangena, Head of Communications SAHRC

  5. I agree entirely – we need to be better informed about the causes of this nightmare. As someone who spends time researching in schools, I agree that the wave of drugs and the tacit acceptance of binge-drinking probably has a lot to do with it. Once we have the information, of course, we have no assurance that anything can be done about the causes without a radical shift in perspective on the part of both citizens and government, but it makes sense to start off armed with as much information as possible. Hilary

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