LAW

It’s not all bad news

Claire Martens
Claire Martens

By Claire Martens

This month we were asked to write about radical feminism. This post is not about radical feminism. But it is about something (somewhat) radical which was stated in court and which has implications for women, or at least the women and their families involved.

In the Bloemfontein High court yesterday, Judge Neil Snellenberg handed a serial killer six life sentences for the rape and murder of four women. The judge stated that the man, Thabang Mohorosi, did not deserve to live among humans. The judge went further to say that “every woman in this country has the right to walk to school and home without fear of being attacked”.

I have thought a lot about freedom and what it means to me. I know that women in South Africa live each day with fear so deeply entrenched within their psyche, that it is almost an inherent part of their being. I don’t think we often realise the burden this has created. Fear is the worst kind of un-freedom for me. I live with fear every day; fear which comes from a feeling of not being safe in the city in which I live. The fear of being raped is constantly with me. But mostly I fear that I will never recover from it; that the scar will be with me for the rest of my life and that I will allow that fear to grow until it takes away the very essence of who I am.

Men who rape only add to the fear we face. They take away our emotional and physical freedom. Perhaps it seems a little harsh to say that a man who rapes does not deserve to live amongst humans, as if he should live out his days in exile. But then I think about the freedom he, and other like him, have taken from us; each and every woman living in this country. Rape is not an individual problem only; is a community’s problem and we need more judgments that acknowledge the far-reaching consequences of it.

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