Stats show some messed up shit

By Tammy Sutherns

I can be quite a serious person by nature, so I prefer to try to find the funny side when I’m writing (just so the people in the back seats don’t start contemplating Prozac while reading my work).

Unfortunately though, there isn’t any funny side to the number of reported cases of rape in our country (note that I say ‘reported’) rising to over 50 000 in the last year. There is certainly nothing light-hearted about the 711 cases of sexual offences against children. But I suppose, we can always take refuge in the fact that ‘slightly less adult women are being raped’. But then there are more adult women being murdered so it all kind of even outs if we have some sort of sick, violence balance sheet.

Forgive me, the rest of this will be rather depressing, infused with some aggression. I can direct you to the nearest Prozac outlet if need be.

Child Welfare reports that three children go missing in South Africa a day and five are murdered every day. Sexual offences may also occur among teenagers, but it is children UNDER the age of 15 who are actually being raped.


Never mind the government or the perpetrators, I feel that I have somehow failed as a woman and as a sister of this nation.

We are not reaching enough platforms and we are clearly not getting through to the people who are using violent forms of control and oppression on our sisters and children. So much for the rise of feminism and equal rights in this country – our violent landscape looks more dire than even before.

As Mangosuthu Buthelezi said, the depth of our civilization can be measured by how safe our children are within our society.  Why are over 700 children being sexually abused? That is not a reflection on the crazies in South Africa, that is a reflection on something very, very wrong with our nation as a whole. We need to know why this is happening! Is there not enough medical help or institutions available to put these people away? Are there not enough police officers to lock them up?

And yet these only address what could be done after the act and after the fact.

Why are our women being raped and murdered? Why are our children being pillaged? There is something psychologically <insert curse here> wrong going on here.

We need to leave our safe, feminist spaces. We need to leave our comfort zones and our families. We need to not preach to those who academically already understand all too well the subjects of masculinity and feminism in South Africa. And we need to start infiltrating the rest of the country. We need to break down cultural beliefs that allow women and children to be subject to such horrors. We need to not let religion and belief be an excuse for patriarchy. We need to teach our people right from wrong.

When the number of sexual offences against children is zero , when rape has dropped to zero, when children aren’t going missing and when women aren’t being murdered, I’ll contemplate being PC again. But for now I’m one pissed off feminist and I’m ready for war.


2 thoughts on “Stats show some messed up shit”

  1. Great piece, Tammy. Horrific story, though.

    I share the warring sentiment. But where do we start? And I don’t ask that question out of scepticism that we can actually achieve anything. I believe that while the battle might not be won in our lifetimes, we need to start somewhere. And so, I ask the question as a genuine request for guidance, and I’m hoping some of our feminist activists have a an answer. There are many young feminists ready to war, but how do we do that and where do we start?


  2. I wish I knew. I think the answer is empowerment of both men and women. We have problems with law enforcement in this country, and our judicial system is far too expensive and takes too long. The easy way out is to say start with yourselves and your families. Become a local victim counsellor. Educate your children on what is right and wrong, ensure that your own children are protected. But that’s the easy way…the issue is way bigger than that!


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