By Matt Edwards
I would like you to indulge me in a quick exercise in imagination. Picture Woodstock, one of the most significant events in the history of modern music. A dusty, 600 acre dairy farm in the rural countryside of the state of New York, USA, converted into one of the most celebrated places in America over the course of three days. Now imagine the masses. Thousands upon thousands of people standing through heat, wind and a lot of rain to enjoy the music. Roughly 500 000 people, in fact.
Now I’d like you to indulge me in bit of simple mathematics. We all know that dreadful statistic that has been drummed into our heads: less than one in every nine cases of rape is reported. Now let’s rationalise this. In 2006, there were 54 926 cases of rape reported in South Africa. So if we take these two statistics and put them together, let’s see: if we take the round figure of 55 000, times that by nine, that gives us 495 000. Roughly 500 000 people.
Let’s put this in a South African context. Five hundred thousand is the population of KwaMashu in Kwazulu Natal. The population of Grahamstown is only an estimated 42 000. If the statistics are true, 11 times the population of Grahamstown was sexually assaulted in 2006 alone. Five hundred thousand people is a kak load of people.
Dealing with rape in the media is always problematic. With political-correctness in this country being what it is, there is always an issue that arises out of the way the media deal with sexual assault. But for once, I don’t really think I have to say any more than: 500 000 people in South Africa alone. I think we’re all intelligent enough to know what that means. The statistics speak for themselves. According to Interpol, South Africa tops the list when it comes to rape statistics. In this country, on average, 1300 people are expected to be raped every day. That means, to put it bluntly, somewhere in South Africa, someone is raped every minute.
The scary thing, though, is that the statistics don’t seem to speak for themselves. All of these figures are from 2006 alone. In the last two years, the statistics have only gone up. Why? Who knows. But it is a sad fact that more and more people in this country are being sexually assaulted, and an end is nowhere in sight.
I’m of the firm belief that rape is not a woman’s problem. Neither, though, is rape a man’s problem. Rape is society’s problem, and if ‘society’ does not realise this pretty damn soon, we’re all in trouble.
Rape Awareness Week is now over. Did you take part, or did you just sit back and watch yet another attempt to do something pass you by? There is a problem in this country, and the only person who can do something about it is you.