In South Africa today and yesterday, a strange trend appeared on Twitter with the hashtag #itsnotrapeif.
The trend was caused by people on Twitter using the hashtag with examples, such as “#itsnotrapeif she agrees to have the baby” or “#itsnotrapeif you were “celibate” … stop being so stingy”; there was even one saying that #itsnotrapeif she’s a lesbian and you’re trying to correct her.
I have no clue why this sort of thing started trending, or why anyone would take part in such a horrible “joke” because the reality in South Africa is that several women and girls get raped every minute here.
Corrective rape is also a massive trend in this country. The worst thing is that these crimes are being ignored by the state and the legal system. In just one example, Eudy Simelane was gang-raped, brutally beaten and stabbed 25 times across her body.
Women are targeted every day for being openly lesbian, and 86% of black lesbians in the Western Cape walk outside every day in fear of sexual assault. There are as many as 10 new cases of corrective rape every week.
Following the trend, Rape Crisis released a statement saying that the tag is “devastating for the rights of survivors”. So many women, men and children are subjected to “sexual penetration” without consent every day, and that there are these people who openly make fun of their plight is sad for humankind.
What is glaringly obvious in our country is that rape is not seen as a crime by those who are meant to help us – we are one of the countries in the world who take part in victim-blaming, and this goes for lesbians, women walking in the streets at night and even children. Rape is simply “sex without consent”, regardless of whom was raped, what they were wearing, how drunk they were, or any other reason. Forced sex cannot be justified.
This issue makes me so sad because it proves that humans are just not evolving into the beings of love that we are meant to be.
If you are in need of support or advice, or would like to make a comment, visit Rape Crisis for more information.
Otherwise, what is your view on the issue?