Rough Notes — Random Thoughts
It’s Monday and it is time for this week’s Medium article. I am trying to do this forever and I don’t know if that is possible; forever is a long time and it requires a seriousness I am not sure I possess as yet.
Time has hit me again this week and what is left is for me to go off the top of my dome and quickly cobble something together. I have just three months until the end of the year so I have to make a plan; I can’t give up now, I am almost there.
Anyway, the best I can do this week is to compose a piece comprising random thoughts from the past few days in my life.
Rape Culture Has No Excuses
I saw the above picture quote on Twitter yesterday and it slapped me quite hard. A lot of times rape and sexual assault of women has been rationalised in the context that the woman was dressed a certain way — that she was asking for it.
It is clear that is never the case.
Sadly, despite the awareness and outreach programmes of the past few months, sexual assault numbers in South Africa remain appalling and rape is part of a general disrespect and devaluation of women in our society.
Although it doesn’t compute in a man’s mind, what you see from reading articles and comments is that women live in fear and feel targeted like prey.
In totality, sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence have increasingly become an everyday feature of life in South Africa and for many women their existence is fragile and their dignity almost a far-fetched dream.
I am not sure how this changes, it is difficult to understand the mind-set of perpetrators when we all have mothers and sisters.
One thing that could perhaps help is a harder, harsher stance against rape from lawmakers and actual protection of women from our justice systems.
Rape is definitely not treated with the fury it should be given its horror. In my brief research I came across some startling numbers. For example, convictions of rape cases remain three times lower than for other crimes which, in itself, has the double-edged sword of emboldening rapists that they will get away with it while also making it less likely for women to report sexual crimes.
As it is, many women do not want to report cases because of their fears of “secondary victimisation at police stations and social shaming.”
Women also face the real danger of re-traumatisation because of a lack of support they receive when they go through our criminal justice system.
Like I said, I am not definitively sure how we change this status-quo.
When you read articles and check the statistics it is all quite shocking. A lot of men and even women are ignorantly and conveniently oblivious. If it never affects you, you never care. And, if you lack even the basic awareness of the daily plight facing women, the effects of that unaware attitude are amplified to the most damaging degree.
· South African police recorded 42,289 rapes in 2019/20, up from 41,583 in 2018/19. This means the police recorded an average of 116 rapes each day.
· Reported sexual offences increased to 53,293 in 2019/20 from 52,420 in 2018/19.
· Femicide in South Africa is five times higher than the global average. More than 20,300 murders were recorded in 2019 alone.
· The country’s reported femicide rate means a woman is murdered every three hours in South Africa.
A lack of awareness is a convenient way of absolving the personal responsibilities we each have to make our world better — to educate others, to stand firm and to report any instances of sexual abuse, be it at the mall, workplace or taxi rank.
That photo I saw on Twitter was just one of the horrific reminders that are out there if we open our eyes.
Anything Is Possible
On a more positive note: anything is possible in life — this is thought that is continually crystallising in my head and it can perhaps also apply to my above thoughts — that it is possible to one day eradicate gender-based violence and rape.
Anything is possible in life if you work hard enough; it is what the greats have taught us throughout history and continue illustrate today. Nothing is out of reach. All we have to do is decide, commit and work hard for it.
The key is to be consistent. Kobe said it, live every single day and every moment with excellence.
Don’t be afraid of quantum leaps, as well. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and leap yourself to even greater heights.
And, lastly — as I read somewhere — be true to what you said on paper. “Decide. Commit. Succeed.”
And on that note! Let me finish off with some cool quotes from this past week:
- Know your why. If you know your why you can withstand any how.
- ‘Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Discharge your duties faithfully and well. Step by step you get ahead, but not necessarily in fast spurts. But you build discipline by preparing for fast spurts… Slug it out one inch at a time, day by day, at the end of the day — if you live long enough — most people get what they deserve.’
- “Stop every now and then. Just stop and enjoy. Take a deep breath. Relax and take in the beauty and creativity of life.”