South Africa was gripped with shock when a student named Khensani Maseko, apparently took her own life after it was alleged she was suffering from depression inflicted by the traumatizing rape she had been subjected to a few months earlier.
She was a Rhodes University student, and it is alleged she was raped by her own boyfriend. Defeated with the trauma of rape, she posted some "suicidal notes" on social media, with one Instagram post citing her date of birth and the date of death, and another with a caption denouncing rape in all forms.
This has begged the question on what is being done about rape in South Africa. The university said that it will launch an inquiry, together with the South African Police Services, but many have asked that must it be about the death of a person for action to be instituted? When the authorities are told of the sexual crimes at the University, and in the country at large, their action leaves a lot to be desired.
And also, men must even do better. Men must not rape. Men must not sexually assault women. Why force yourself on a woman?
We spoke to one Rhodes University student named Mudiwa Pfupa and he gave us his insights into the issue.
Below is what he had to say:
It is disgusting how the societies we live in have turned into spaces where atrocious deeds such as rape have become normalized. Many at times people, if not all the time, people shame the rape victim instead of calling out the culprit and bringing them to justice.
Society often passes comments like, "what were you wearing?", "why were you drunk in the first place?" but NEVER take time to sit men down and indoctrinate the words "DO NOT RAPE!"
It’s also disappointing as a male, how most of my peers often get their attention grabbed on matters of rape after a victim has reported yet another issue of rape. Why can’t we, as we play FIFA or when we ‘grab a cold one’, tell each other to never force ourselves on women and respect women when they say the golden word, "NO!"
At Rhodes University, one student, Khensani Maseko (may her soul rest in eternal peace), committed suicide on the 3rd of August 2018 after succumbing to the depression that followed her falling victim to rape at the hands of her own boyfriend whom she dearly loved. This brings up yet another issue of how as males, we should reflect on our actions and cast out the demon of entitlement.
The patriarchal societies socialize men to exercise dominion over basically everyone and everything especially women, and this is entirely absurd in a world where most, if not a high population of women, are more qualified than men. Essentially, whether there’s a relationship or even in a marriage, no man is entitled to have sex with a woman. When and if she says "NO!", it means NO.
The number of rape victims far outnumbers the numbers of rapists. This is because society has normalized rape, and we let the rapists walk freely and live among us. We laugh and tolerate rape tendencies even when they are expressed in a joke. By doing so, we let that culture perpetuate and continue instead of calling our friends and relatives out to tell them that it is wrong.
The sad reality of life is people choose to fight rape when the victim is their daughter or sister. However, the fact is we can avoid all that if we call out rapists and bring them to justice. I will quote one tweet that says, "straight men only know consent when a gay guy hits on them." I pray society stops being shallow and starts doing justice by everyone.