Presentation on theme: "RAPE: A socialogcal and criminolgical approach. Dr NC Nomoyi Forensic Criminology Senior Lecturer Retired Major-General South African Police Service (SOE)"— Presentation transcript:
RAPE: A socialogcal and criminolgical approach. Dr NC Nomoyi Forensic Criminology Senior Lecturer Retired Major-General South African Police Service (SOE)
CONTENT Introduction. Where does vulnerability begin. What are the roots of gender based violence. Relationship between rape and HIV. Socio-Cultural dimension. The aim of the presentation. Political influences: What went wrong? South African Government’s response to the scourge of gender-based violence. What would it take for women to be free of injury and live without fear for their safety.
INTRODUCTION Ramphele, speaking at an event to celebrate Women’s Day, during August 2013 reminded the audience that gender based violence is rampant in South Africa. In addition, she emphasized that this scourge is not limited to South Africa and occurs infact worldwide with little research conducted to understand the escalation thereof better (Ramphele 2013:29).
Endorsing the cautionary words that acquiescing to abuse sets a bad example, Ramphele reflects that: Nineteen years into our democracy is a good moment to take stock. We have made great strides in raising the visibility of women at many levels in out society; in Parliament, cabinet, public leadership in provinces, local authorities, civil society organizations, professions and academia. Sadly we have to face the ugly reality that despite having the constitutional human rights and gender equality provisions foundations for social relationships as well as demonstrated capability of women to lead, the PATRIARCHIAL SYSTEM OF MALE DOMINANCE gender based violence in our society is rampant. We need to acknowledge that the lived reality of many girls and women is violence at home, at school, at work and in the streets. Traditional male chauvinist views of the place of women in society persist despite all the efforts to change them. Why?
WHERE DOES VULNERABLITY BEING? It starts at home. Women as mothers, wives, sisters and partners play a role in the perpetuation of gender inequality. The subtle messages we give our daughters and sons as we raise them leave a deep imprint on what is and what is not acceptable. Buying peace in the home by acquiescing to abuse sets a bad example for our children, who end up accepting abusive relationships as the norm. The Abnormal becomes normal if regularly enacted.
WHAT ARE THE ROOT CAUSES OF GENDER BASED VIOLENCE The root causes of gender based violence also need to be tackled. The high level of unemployment and despair among young people 70 % of all unemployed people. - is a danger to our society. Desperate young men are resorting to crime. These young men are resorting to crime. These young men need urgent attention. Arresting them is not enough. They need help to channel their energies responsibility and creatively. As McComb, quoted in Hawthorne observes, "when a man is tortured it is death anywhere, people see political persecution, when the same thing happens to a woman the same people see sex.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RAPE AND HIV Researchers have witnessed a growing recognition of the link between violence again women and HIV. One immediate expression of this link relates to the transmission of HIV following rape. The act of rape may sometimes be brutal and the victim may experience tearing which increases the chances of HIV entering her body. Rape is also sometimes perpetrated by more than one perpetrator, which again increases the chances of the HI virus transmission (Wood, Jama, Jewkes, Nduna & Levin 2002) Rape affects millions of people each year worldwide. However, South Africa is reported to have one of the highest rates of sexual violence in the world. South Africa also has the unhappy distinction of being known as the country with the highest incidence of rape worldwide (Ramsay 1999) In 1995, the Human Rights Watch reports on domestic violence and rape, dubbed South Africa the rape capital in the world (Human Rights Watch, 1995).
SOCIO CULTURAL DIMENSION Like all other forms of violence against women, rape is connected to the broad socio - cultural milieu which is suffused with beliefs of male dominance, supremacy and aggression. Inequalities in male - female relationships as well as in the social, economic and political structures in South Africa ensure that women remain vulnerable to attack. That South African society to some degree promotes rape through their attitude about social inequalities related to race and gender, as well as their attitude towards victims and perpetrators. South African society is deeply ingrained with rape victims and sexiest stereotypes. This minimizes the treatment or support for rape victims by society at large we well as by police personnel, and this is particularly true for Black women (Human Rights Watch 1995).
THE AIM OF THIS PRESENTATION This study seeks to bring to the fore the incidence of rape that is increasingly becoming rampart in South Africa and its brutal nature. The print and electronic media continuously reflect that the scourge of rape is multi-faceted. Women, children (as young as four months as well as grandmothers aws old as 92 are survivors of this violent crime, in increasing numbers. This occurs either in the hands of relative’s neighbors, care givers as well as strangers.
POLITICAL INFLUENCES: WHAT WENT WRONG? It is well documented that communities that have experienced high levels of oppression and violence to mention but a few (African American, Maori-New Zealand, and Aboriginal - Australia) continue to experience high levels of violence including gender - based violence. Atkinson & Atkinson note that in many instances, the pain of colonization has been internalized into abusive and self abusive behaviors.
The multiple layers of acute and overt violence experienced by such communities at the hands of the colonial state can lead to complex expressions of rage, within and across generations (Laing 2002 : 19) The system of Apartheid was a deliberate attempt to subordinate and oppress the majority of South Africans, undermining their identity and cultural and social infrastructure. the fragmentation that exists in the community is indicative of the fragmentation of identities of individuals...(Foster 1994; ) The use of violence by the apartheid state and in the struggle against apartheid further reinforced its use as a legitimate form and expression of opposition (Harper 2003) With South Africa's long history of colonisation,followed by an internal system of racial oppression since 1948, entire communities were systematically attacked and oppressed, which may account for the high levels of domestic and sexual violence against women and is not merely a post apartheid occurrence. It appears to have always been part of South Africa's social fabric in all cultures and racial groupings; it was just not addressed.
During apartheid, violence against women in the black community was often placed on the back burner as the focus was on the struggle for freedom. Violence in the white community was also silenced - especially incest and marital rape. The white community had to have an image of 'decency' and 'civilization' (Harper, 2003). In addition, the history and experience of instititutionalised violence through the apartheid state points to the need for caution in focusing interventions solely at the institutional level through criminal justice reforms. This effort must be matched by interventions at the individual, community and overall societal level, which challenge dominant attitudes and values that perpetuate gender based violence.
This is borne out by the ongoing levels of gender based - violence, even with extensive gender machinery, and progressive laws, policies and programmes in place. As Foster notes; the responsibility for eradicating violence against women lies not with government alone but with communities and the entire South African society... We cannot legislate change social justice and social; change requires more than laws and policies ( Foster 1994;4). Solving the problem requires a transformation of the way we think about gender identity, sexuality and the place of women and men in our democracy. It further requires an examination of the interaction between attempts to introduce a new human rights culture and efforts to rebuild a conception of traditional pre colonial culture. It is a daunting task, but it can be tackled. The strategies of dealing with gender based violence are legal, economic, social, cultural and individual, and located within all levels of society. Many within the state and civil society have thrown their considerable weight into finding solutions.
THE SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENTS’ RESPONSE TO THE SCOURGE OF GENDER - BASED VIOLENCE The National Council on Gender - Based violence was established in 2012 to address the brutality committed against defenseless women and children in our country. Delivering the state of the nation address in parliament during February 2013, President Zuma reflected: The brutal gang rape and murder of Anene Booysen, and other women and girls in recent times has brought into sharp focus the need for unity in action to eradicate this scourge. The President expressed his dismay at the level of violence against women and children saying that ' once implemented (the two Bills) the law will assist women and children who are often victims of these heinous crimes (rape and murder) The government, the President said, has added the two mechanisms (the two Bills) to protect women and children " I have directed law enforcement agencies to treat these cases with utmost urgency and importance. The Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offenses Units (FCSU's) which were re - established in 2010 have increased personnel" said President Zuma in his speech as he told the audience that the FCSU's units achieved more than 363 life sentences in the last financial year, with a conviction rate 73% for crimes against women above 18 yrs and 0% for crimes against children under 18 yrs of age.
In this regard Mr. Radebe. The minister of Justice and Constitutional Development (Phosa 2013:4) pointed out that government has ensured that South Africa will see 22 revamped sexual offenses courts up and running before the end of this year after government task team found these were needed as a matter of urgency. Releasing findings by the ministerial advisory task team on the adjudication of sexual offenses, Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe said the resuscitation of the specialized courts was a step in the right direction, considering the country's high incidence of sex crimes. The task team made an unequivocal finding in its report that South Africa still needs sexual offences courts. In addition 35 more courts would be set up in the next 3 years bringing to 57 the number of specialized courts in the country. In addition, Deputy President makes a call to all good men thus: South African men should guard against classification which results in prejudices directed to women. Addressing the National Men’s Rally at the Johannesburg Stadium on 23 August, Deputy President Kgalema Mothlanthe said men should stop taking refuge behind culture as it perpetrated gender based violence.
WHAT WOULD IT TAKE FOR WOMEN TO BE FREE OF INJURY AND LIVE WITHOUT FEAR FOR THEIR SAFETY Hawthorne (2010: 5) points out that: 1. It would take a wholesale shift in men’s attitudes towards women? 2. It would take men disavowing their loyalty to patriarchy and to the institutions that support it, including racism, heterosexism, and discrimination based on marginalizing people for reasons of bodily formation, mobility, age, ethnicity, religious beliefs and culture - without supporting cultural or sexual relativism. 3. It would take men recognizing their accountability for their own and other men’s actions. 4. It would take shutting down the military industrial complex, beginning with a ban on small arms. 5. It would take respecting women and fostering the space for women to live in our bodies freely.
6. It would take ending the assumption that women’s bodies are for men’s use - whether for sex labor, domestic service or emotional support. 7. It would take respecting children and their growth into adults not burdened by childhood violation and violence. 8. It would take the development of a social and political ethic that resists privileging power. 9. It would take unthinking the possibility of patriotism and the use of women’s bodies as property. 10. It would take the development of politics that respects and honours the lives of the living beings among whom we live (Hawthorne, 2002) 11. It would take respecting the earth as a bio/diverse eco/social system in which profiteering at the expense of life - plants,animals,the soil, rocks, the sea’s, the atmosphere and their inhabitants - is socially sanctioned and subject to international inspections with penalties.
CONCLUSION & RECOMMENDATIONS Senior Researcher Andre Gould (2013:21) writing on the “War The Country Cannot Win: He advises on three interventions that research has shown to work in reducing violence and that do not involve the Police. RAISE ALCOHOL TAXES There is compelling international evidence that increasing the tax on alcohol reduces homicide, rape and assault; SUPPORT PARENTS AND CHILDREN Studies of parenting-support programmes, parents and children, have been shown to reduce aggression, violence and arrest rates of troubled children. A large body of evidence tells us that babies who develop close loving relationships with their mothers are more likely to develop into healthy adults; and OTHER THERAPY TO YOUNG PEOPLE WHO COMMIT CRIME Intensive therapy programmes for young offenders have been shown to reduce arrest rates among those who receive the treatment. These are only three of the many positive interventions that have been proven to reduce violence and crime in the long term. Government would be wise to invest in these programmes.
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