Gender violence

A Zambian embarrassment at the Victim Empowerment Conference

I have had the fortune (or misfortune … I’m not quite sure yet) to be at the International Conference on Victim Empowerment this week. We began yesterday with 12 hours of travelling, no food and shower that I had to run circles in to get wet and I had hoped that today would be better….

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The noises next door

Every year 1 400 women are killed by their partners, and maybe we were listening. If your neighbour plays music really loud on a week night, do you go over and ask them to keep it down? If they start banging their drums at 9pm in a residential area, do you think you should ask them…

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Do you have to say NO for it to be rape?

I was talking with some family members a while back about rape and something scary became apparent. Most people think that there is a grey area between yes and no, and that sometimes even when you say no, people are still sympathetic to the person who continues to have sex with you anyway. We were…

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Is rape something we can joke about?

I was watching Ricky Gervais’ Fame tour last night and about 30 minutes in he starts joking about rape. In the skit he asks “what sort of society has to remind people not to rape?” It’s referring to an advertisement that emphasises consent in sexual encounters. Instead of this being an insight into how much…

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Raped by ‘consent’

When you define rape as occuring when someone does not consent to sex, instead of when coercive circumstances are involved, you enter a minefield of confusion and definition that is extremely harmful to the rape survivor.

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Rape — sex or power?

Rape happens every day in South Africa. It is estimated that each year about half a million rapes occur, but only 1 in 9 of these is reported. With roughly 24 million women in South Africa this presents women with a scary picture. It means that if you are a woman and you live to the…

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Why women say no to sex

I had a horrible flashback yesterday of this terrible sociology course that I took while at university. The course material and lecturer were stimulating enough, and the course was focused on gender, so it was really right up my alley. However, each session my temperature and the acerbity of my tone would slowly rise as…

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Legalise prostitution now!

Sexual favours for a price. On the side of the road. Down an alley. In your car. In your hotel room. In your house. On the corner. Wherever it is, it’s likely to be unsafe for the sex worker. Why? You might refuse to use condoms and risk exposing him or her to sexually transmitted…

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Finding sex

There are a number of unspokens in the most silent of crimes. The one is that most rapists experience erectile dysfunction, in other words they get it up but they can’t keep it up and that is when the person raped is in most danger because they will often become angry. Ananias Mathe, who is…

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The odds are stacked against men

The odds are stacked against men. There are about 750 million sperm per ejaculate, yet only one sperm can fertilise the single egg a woman produces once a month. A male foetus is less likely to survive full-term pregnancy than a female, and boys are more likely to die in infancy. Boys are more likely to…

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