Figures released by Statistics South Africa show more than seventy percent of South African women have suffered a sexual assault. These assaults mostly happen at home. The main perpetrators of sexual offences are reportedly people known to the assault survivors.
According to Statistics South Africa – inequality, which remains prevalent, especially among black South Africans, is the invisible hand in the vicious crimes committed in households, particularly against women.
29-year-old Nosipho has been raped twice in her lifetime. Sexually violated by people she knew and trusted.
When I was 15 years old there was a family friend who was living nearby, I trusted him so much but one day he came around without my parents around and I trusted him so well. He said come here and I went near him then he started doing things like I didn’t understand, so after that something happened, he raped me. I couldn’t tell anyone cause I was afraid, I was afraid of him, that he will come back and do it again.” said Nasipho, rape survivor
At 25 years old – Nosipho was again raped – this time by a neighbor.
“I felt like killing myself. I didn’t feel right and it keeps on coming back in my head. I didn’t even talk about it. If I think about it I feel worthless and I quit life sometimes and it hurt so much to be in that situation.” said Nosipho
The report also notes that sexual assault is one of the most under‐reported crimes. Lobby groups and other organization dealing with assault survivors say the stats could actually be grimmer than revealed.
It’s very hard to pin the statistics down because others say this and others say this. The reality from my side is that I think its getting worse. In fact I think what is being reported is not a true reflection. I mean looking at people who come here for counseling session but you also get according the SAPS because we also work with SAPS on the ground, who say a lot of cases go unreported.” said Malashi Lucky Mabunda, Lifeline
It’s a scourge that, according to police, is hard to tackle.
Within the SAPS we have prioritized this. We already have re established the family sexual and family violence unit, which specifically is mandated to deal with crimes of women abuse, children abuse, which talks to issues of sexual assault. It is a priority and we also ensure that they receive the necessary resources, to ensure that we deal with that effectively and efficiently.” said Lieut. Gen. Bonang Mgwenya
Police believe that fighting this should be a collective effort.
Most of these cases happen indoors. Its uncles, its husbands, its boyfriends that commit these kind of crimes therefore as society we have a responsibility that we talk about these issues, we empower each other on these issues to ensure that as a country we are able to fight this scourge together.” said Malashi Lucky Mabunda, Lifeline
Report findings further indicate that alcohol and drugs influenced the assault, regardless of where they occurred