Tag Archives: sexual violence

Reattributing shame as an act of social justice

By Rebecca Helman I remember the first time I gave a talk to a group of strangers about that fact that I had been raped. The shame of it felt like a weight, trying to crush me into the floor as I attempted to stand up tall and look unblinkingly out into the room. In…

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#RUReferenceList could prove crucial in influencing the rape conversation

Is the time for South Africa to have the difficult discussion about rape finally here? Is it now time to do our utmost to provide protection and care for survivors and those vulnerable? The release of a list of 11 male students accused of sexual assault at Rhodes University, and subsequent protests by students, could…

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I’ve had enough of Bullard. And so should you

In 2008, proud racist David Bullard was fired from the Sunday Times for a column wherein he denigrated black South Africans. In seems that, after the failure of his many legal matters against the Sunday Times and its owning company Avusa, Bullard found a new hobby. And that hobby is harassing and bullying rape survivors…

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Concourt ruling against ‘teen sex’ law protects rape survivors’ rights

Last week’s Constitutional Court ruling decriminalising consensual sexual relationships between teens was met with moralising outrage across the country. Sensationalist media fanned the flames of indignation by failing to contextualise the law’s effect on teen sexual relations – including rape. Under the impugned sections 15 and 16 of the Sexual Offences Act (SOA) teenage rape…

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This is ‘corrective rape’. These are its rules

Early last week, the newspapers reported the discovery of another dead and mutilated lesbian body. Yet another poor, black, landless, queer body with a vagina has been killed and the story, we’re told, is because she was gay. As the routine letters of condemnation from state, public and political officials came in their multitudes, and…

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Conference sex

Oratile is your average 25-year-old — ambitious, with big dreams and hopes. Due to the nature of her work she attends many conferences, imbizos, indabas and such gatherings. She is painfully aware that for many, these gatherings mean “sexual fun”. She has often had to deal with suggestive remarks and people attempting to kiss her….

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Don’t kiss me, I’m 16

The recent fiasco with the Sexual Offences Act should serve as an alert about continuing problems dating from before the act’s adoption in 2007 and that have still not received parliament’s attention. The Western Cape High Court in May upheld a finding that meant the courts could not pass sentences for 29 crimes for which…

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Sex for sale: The state as pimp

By Zuki Mqolomba Debates on adult prostitution have been raging on in South Africa’s public and legal domains since the 1990s. Debates surfaced in 2007 when Labour Court judge Halton Cheadle ruled on the “Kylie” vs Michelle van Zyl case. The debates spiraled once again in light of the foregone 2010 Fifa World Cup, with…

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Gang rape, jackrolling, lepanta: a societal problem

I grew up in a village outside Polokwane in Limpopo. At school and in the community we would always hear older boys talking about lepanta. As a young boy, I knew lepanta to be a Sotho word for “belt”. I soon learnt that it was coined by boys in the street corners to mean “when…

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Rape is not a slogan on a T-shirt

When I was a student at Rhodes University I belonged to the Women’s Movement, an organisation that was intended to advance the rights of women students on campus and generally spread the feminist agenda. We were supposed to campaign for things like improved security for women on campus, and to protest against dimwitted and archaic…

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