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SA's Top 10 Crimes

SA’s Top 10 Crimes

by Brandon Edmonds, Image by Conrad Botes / 19.10.2009

Crime, as ubiquitous to the South African psyche as sunny skies and boerewors. In this new series, Mahala makes a list of the top ten SA crimes in our lifetime.

Number 1. Rape. Yes, we may have spawned a Saint in Mandela, remain the high water mark of negotiated transitions to liberal democracy and our stirring Constitution is required reading for law students everywhere, but man are we evil to our sisters! Consent is the last thing on our dirty minds. In a UN study on sexual violence (1998-2000), we were tops. Numero Uno. That’s globally. We commit 55000 rapes a year. That’s a rape every 40 seconds. In the time it takes to pee or boil the kettle or answer your cell phone or take a lift to the second floor, a woman is raped in this country. Things have actually worsened this decade. A Medical Research Council report, released this year, making global news, found 1 in 4 SA men admitted raping! Repeatedly. Over 1700 men of all races were sampled electronically. The report, according to Time magazine, suggests ‘a deeply rooted culture of violence against women in which men rape in order to feel powerful, and do so with impunity…men most likely to rape were not the poorest, but those who had attained some level of education and income.’ That’s us. The men around you. Not to mention the fucking leader of this country! In his 2006 rape trial he admitted having sex with an HIV-positive family friend who was asking for it being ‘provocatively’ dressed in a traditional kanga wrap and Zulu culture, as he testified, insists that a palpably horny woman be seen to. This is the guy who’ll open the World Cup next year. Makes you think mindless ‘bitch n ho’ Gangsta rap ought to be censored. Beer outlawed. Prostitution legalized. And chemical castration made mandatory for repeat offenders. 40 seconds. Holy fuck. As Wiki puts it, ‘a woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning how to read’. Disgusting.

Image © and courtesy Conrad Botes

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  1. Mandla says:

    At least we cant blame the poor for the Number 1 Crime in South Africa. I`m glad that is clear. Now… If 1 in 4 guys rapes repeatedly we might be outnumbered. Simply because the other 3 wont do anything about it. 1-4? Thats 1-4 Policemen. 1-4 Doctors 1-4 Lawyers…

    Oh my gosh…

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  2. lw says:

    brilliantly written article

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  3. Beeekaay says:

    The truth is disgusting!

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  4. emmanence says:

    Couple of things to add:
    55000 are our reported rapes, some people estimate only 1 in 9 people report rapes, that takes our true figure up to just under half a million a year.
    Most women are raped more than once.
    Some stats say 1 in 3 women are raped, and 1 in 7 men (including childhood sexual assault).
    1 in 4 men admit perpetrating rape includes as Mandla so eloquently puts it 1 in 4 police, 1 in 4 doctors, 1 in 4 lawyers etc who are the people in the system meant to help survivors get ‘justice’.
    Only about 4% of reported rapes ever get a guilty conviction in court.
    Police have been known to reduce the prevalance of rape in this country, not by addressing the root cause, but by encouraging survivors not to report or lay a charge. It looks better that way.
    So do something – http://www.nicro.org.za – runs programs for offenders, very brave people.
    http://www.rapecrisis.org.za is looking for funds to continue to provide services to rape survivors and their family.

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  5. emmanence says:

    PS – if we weren’t okay with it, it wouldn’t happen. The stats speak volumes about the fact that as a society, we think rape is okay.

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  6. a woman says:

    I’m so discouraged. Not safe out of your house. Not safe in your house. And there are so many rapes that never gets reported. How do you protect your daughters from this absolute life crushing crime? How do you educate your sons? How do you educate a nation that simply give a **** ?

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  7. Pearl says:

    With the stats so accurate its scary to even just stepping out ur home,,,,, disgusting

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  8. Tracey says:

    The artwork does nothing but entrench the idea that rape is ‘simply’ a sexual crime, and not about power. The images in the artwork are more erotic than realistic – women should be able to wear what they want to without inviting lurid comments, or rape. Let’s not forget that raped women are most often abducted, tied up, held down or drugged then beaten, forced to perform fellatio, sodomised, penetrated with objects – all against their will – and often by multiple attackers. Try and illustrate that. And what the hell is ‘lucky lucky’ about above a happy looking man with an enormous erection?

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  9. Brandon edmonds says:

    Fair enough, Tracey. Conrad Botes is an artist uncomfortably adept at animating unmentionable aspects of the masculine unconscious blah blah…and you’re possibly being a little literal here. We used the image to animate a male drive that takes without asking. Sexual imagery feeds into the urge to dominate. Few contemporary artists walk the nauseating boundary of sex and power like Botes does. We stand by the image. But thanks for your insightful concern.

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  10. Andy says:

    I think it’s also important to note that the image was not drawn specifically for this article. But it does represent, as Edmonds so eloquently puts it, “a male drive that takes without asking”

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  11. sara says:

    I love to visit your blog at weekend. You have done great yet and hope you will continue with same here. Thank you so much for posting such an interesting article again.

    jeux pc

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  12. Anonymous says:

    The stats seem to increase by the day. The sad part of it all is the fact that many of the reape victims dont report this terrible crime to the police as the person who has raped them is normally a family member.

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