*** Chipo’s Note ***
Once again – thank you for all your support. I know I’d said that this post was going to be Valentine’s Day – oriented but I had to sideline that post for this one. This one was just too important for me to ignore.
This past weekend, a 17-year old girl by the name of Anene Booysen, was gang-raped and mutilated by a group of men. She died as a result of her severe injuries a few days ago. This has sparked both national and international outrage and a cry for the harshest punishment for these savages can be heard from everywhere.
Every four minutes a woman is raped. Every four minutes a woman goes to report that she has been raped. Only one in nine women will report that she has been raped.
I have often been disturbed by the facts that I’ve learned when it comes to the abuse and rape of women – regardless of their age. I’m even more disturbed when I can say that I personally know at least five girls – yes, girls – who have been raped before they even reached the age of 12. I’ve lost count of the number of girls I know who have been abused in one way or another. Sad thing is you probably do too.
On my campus, I know at least 10 girls who have been beaten, raped, verbally abused, and/or emotionally abused. Let me make that 20 girls. I’m using the word girls because that was exactly what they were when it happened. Grown “men” and stupid boys – I’m referring to their abusers not the male population, so please remain calm – decided that they were going to rob these beautiful girls of their innocence, their identity, their peace, and their security.
The saddest and probably most twisted thing is the fact that that isn’t the main thing that bothers me. I’ve lost count of the numerous conversations where I’ve heard
“Ah yeah, that guy gave her the klap (slap/beating) yesterday!” People gasped. People laughed. And then they moved on. A girl was gang-raped a few months ago – I will not elaborate on the circumstances. It was the topic of every conversation for a couple of days and then *poof* everyone forgot. No one even bothered to find out who she was. Many people just lit a match and walked away. The most incredulous thing, however, is that while police were searching for the suspects people refused to give their whereabouts. With my own two eyes, I saw at least two of the suspects hanging out, acting like nothing had happened.
A friend of mine was almost raped by her friend’s boyfriend a couple of years ago. They were all hanging out – there were about ten of them. She had too much too drink and went to lie down.
“The door opened all of a sudden and I saw a guy walk in. I thought nothing of it; I thought he’d come to check if I’d thrown up or something. Suddenly, my tights were gone and soon I felt my underwear being pulled of. I tried to protest, I know I said no. Suddenly, I felt something and I screamed. I screamed until I couldn’t scream anymore. He disappeared into the numbers of people that came in to check on me. At first, no one believed me because they thought I was drunk. But the next morning, when they asked me if I remembered anything, I nodded and glared at them. I’d heard everything they’d said. A few days later, everyone was acting like nothing happened. I’d never felt so humiliated in my life. I trusted these people. I thought they meant it when they said they had my back. But I was almost raped whilst they were in the next room. What did they do? They dusted the situation under the carpet and hoped that I’d never bring it up again.”
I don’t think I need to express any thought. You read it. This was not some random person mentioned in the newspaper. This was a girl I hold closely to my heart. Heck, a number of my peers know her too.
We need to stop acting like rape is something that we turn a blind eye to. We need to stop endorsing rape by acting like the offenders “made a mistake”. By refusing to go to the police and reporting an offender, you’re denying someone the right to seeking justice. Rape happens everywhere – all the time. Parties. Clubs. Schools. The workplace.
“That’s not true, Chipo! I would know by now if something like that had happened!”
Are you sure about that?
In my small high school of about 400 people, several girls have been subject to being taken advantage of. The university attend – I think almost half the girls have been raped, abused, or have come close to being put in such a situation. I am not making this up. I have heard the stories. I have seen the tears. I’ve seen the pain.
There are way too many girls and women suffering in silence out there and that just isn’t okay. There are too many guys out there who think that it’s okay to push a girl around or take advantage of her because “She was asking for it anyway”. That is sick. That is twisted. That is unacceptable. The rumors The laughter. The mockery. It has to end now. It is not okay for a girl to get beaten up and everyone laughs about it. It is not okay for a girl to be raped just because she had too much to drink – I’m not condoning the drinking, take note of that. I am just saying that rape and abuse is inexcusable – no matter what the circumstances are.
Lastly, as I close, I want you to think of a lady or girl that you hold close to your heart – be it your mother, your sister, your cousin, best friend, etc. Imagine if you were to hear that she’d been raped or beaten up – or even both. You wouldn’t care about the circumstances. You wouldn’t care about whether she was sober or not. You would be too damn angry at the savage that could have done that to her. If you already know of a loved one who has been subject to such – like I do – then I’m pretty sure you’ll agree with me when I say enough is enough.
Ladies – you have a right to say no. No matter what anyone says – you did not ask for it. Men – to those of you who respect women and can see that there is something very wrong with the world we live in – keep stepping up.
Everyone – to those of you who know of someone who has ever been abusive (physically, sexually, etc.) and you haven’t done anything about it – I hate to say it but shame on you. Step up and save other women and children and even men from these monsters.
Enough is enough. It’s time we put a stop to all this senselessness.