By Mxolisi Mhlongo
The sexual assault and rape of women in South Africa is of an epidemic level with some many tragic instances, like the Quantum assaults (link to: https://kayafm.co.za/exclusive-white-quantum-terrorises-johannesburg-commuters/) that we reported on in March 2017. Attention on this only came after a couple of the women came forward having been sexually assaulted and then frustrated by the structures that are supposed to help them. Their stories showed up the total inadequacy of the facilities available as well as the lack of sensitivity and understanding of those within those spaces, in particular, the police.
Three men were eventually arrested and have appeared in the Newlands Magistrate’s Court while the eight women who spoke out about their sexual assault are receiving counseling and medical attention.
We cannot sit back complacently hoping that someone else will fix the problem, particularly because the responsibility lies with men as the perpetrators. On 180 with Bob, Bob Mabena and the team are committed to doing their part in encouraging both Afropolitan men to step up as well as all Afropolitans to visit their nearest police station to find out what facilities they have for victims of sexual assault and rape.
It is also about engaging with what we can all do to prevent rape. The Rape Crisis organization suggests various solutions, including building safer communities, peer education, advocacy for change and research database.
They also have tips on what to do if you are raped:
- GET TO A SAFE PLACE – Do this as soon as possible.
- TELL SOMEONE – It may be very difficult for you to tell someone what has happened to you, but it’s important because this person can support your story and back you up in court.
- DO NOT WASH YOURSELF – There might be hair, blood or semen on your body or clothes that can be used as evidence of the rape.
- IF YOU ARE INJURED – Go straight to a hospital, community health centre or doctor.
- REPORT THE RAPE – Go to the police station nearest to where the attack took place as soon as you can. Ask a friend or family member to go with you for support. Keep the name of the police officer in charge of your case and your case number.
- IF YOU’RE AFRAID – If you fear retribution or intimidation by the rapist(s), make sure the police are aware of this and ask that the rapist(s) be not allowed out on bail.
- FORENSIC EXAMINATION – A doctor will examine every part of your body to find and collect samples of hair, blood or semen. This is part of the police investigation to gather medical evidence of the crime.
- GET SUPPORT – Ask for pamphlets or booklets on rape and the number of a local counseling service to give you further support and advice about the police matter, court case and any other effects of the rape.
- Whether or not you want to lay a charge, make sure that, within 72 hours, you take:
- The Morning After Pill (MAP) to prevent pregnancy;
- An HIV-test and anti-retroviral treatment to prevent HIV infection; and
- Antibiotics to prevent a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI).