They amount to blaming the victim of rape for “provoking” it. A potentially gravely injured and, certainly, traumatised person is implicitly blamed for bringing this scourge upon herself. This is victim-shaming, and it is utterly deplorable. Culture – African or otherwise – has nothing to do with it. It is simply wrong.
It’s also not true. Women and men are raped by the thousands, by the millions, the world over, irrespective of their age, their appearance, their attire. Rape is a serious problem in the Middle East despite, in places, society’s strict control over female attire for the sake of ‘modesty’.
The only way to be absolutely 100 percent certain that rape is stamped out is, quite simply, for people not to rape. That’s it.
Stop claiming that it conflicts with your – or anybody else’s – culture for women to dress as they please. Rape is indeed a cultural problem; namely that rape is excused. For some reason, we look for ways to excuse the perpetrator by making idiotic remarks suggesting the victim’s complicity in the crime that has been perpetrated.
Pardon the poor analogy, but: If I am robbed, it is not because I have left a window open, but because someone took it upon themselves to steal my stuff. Likewise, a woman is raped by a man not because of what she is wearing, what she drank or what she said, but because it occurred to a man to rape her. Nobody ‘deserves’ rape.
When nation’s most senior policeman says such things, he is siding with the rapists. I would even go so far as to call him an enabler, a representative of the truly despicable aspects of patriarchy that must urgently be stamped out. An apologist for rape culture has no business wearing a police uniform.
As a human, as a man, and above all as someone who can no longer count those among his female friends and acquaintances who have been raped or sexually assaulted on the fingers of both of his hands, I take grave personal offence at Ndeitunga’s remarks. I await his apology to the nation, and in particular to the women who employ him to uphold the law.
Dominic von Stösser