South African notes: women, sex, rape and no fun on Women's Day

From: Carol Macdonald (
Date: Mon Mar 08 2004 - 22:28:34 PST

I read the Goody article, and reckoned, they don’t come better than that.
But before I share some local observations, let me say, in general, that
soldiers very often sodomise other soldiers that they have defeated, so
there must be a very strong element of subjugation in sex. Also, just before
WWII, women in the US were beginning to enter the professions in some
numbers, but after the war, they were seriously recast as baby-makers, for
another two decades.(This latter point is overlooked by Goody.)

1. One woman gets raped every 28 minutes in South Africa.
2. Charlise Theron (sic) made an advert on South African TV about 3
years ago, asking men what they would feel like to be raped, but then the
Advertising Standards Authority withdrew the ad, on the grounds that it was
3. When I was hijacked with my housekeeper (by men, naturally), we didn
’t have anti-retrovirals then, and we desperately prayed we wouldn’t be
raped as well—many women are. We weren’t, and now rape is no longer a death
sentence to women like myself with access to decent healthcare.
4. There is forbidden language in different tribal groups, so that if a
rural unmarried woman gets raped, she can’t make a proper police statement
because she is forbidden to use the literal words for private parts. The
police split their sides.
5. When a friend went to lay a charge of rape, the police spent half an
hour getting her to try and thread a moving (revolving) needle with cotton—a
demonstration that rape physically requires “consent”. She didn’t lay a
charge after that. Needless to say, we have very few women officers for rape
6. In England and Scotland, a man in each country has been convicted
for knowingly passing on HIV; I laughed wryly at that—we would have a couple
of million men in jail here for that.
7. A young married South African woman laid a charge of rape (at an
AIDS conference in India) against a South African judge, and then withdrew
the charge. We could hear the country sniggering. Our activist paper ran a
black banner headline: “The Day Rape was Raped”.


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