South Africa: Take action to protect women from rape

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Payton Reid started this petition to Prime Minister of South Africa and

It's been happening for years, yet still, there seems to be no end.

My name is Payton Reid, I'm 17 and currently finishing my Grade 12 year at Warman High School.  I've been doing research on sexual violence in South Africa, and have learned many disturbing facts. Hearing what men are capable of doing to innocent women, is enough to make one physically sick. The most infuriating thing is that nothing is being done to protect or help these women. 

South Africa is known as the "rape capital of the world", and every day over one hundred women are raped. Imagining the pain and suffering that these women experience, knowing they're in a country that's known for sexual violence and never feeling safe is something that everyone SHOULD care about.  

Every one needs to understand the seriousness of this horriffic crime, especially the Government Officials of South Africa. Over 90% of cases go unreported because they know exactly how the system is run. Women are discouraged, scared, and know that if they had the courage to report this crime what would happen to them. They fear being further victimized through the investigative process. 

When the cases pertaining to sexual violence are being told, the police or officials don't do much about it. Most are unwilling to serve protection orders, and there are cases where police deviated from protocol.

As an officer their duty is to comfort the victim, and proceed to do these main things:

 -Ask for the victim to provide a brief description of the crime

 -Describe the procedure and their roll, if not already done so

 -Provide a case number for the victim

However, with the social norm South Africa has, this is where cases aren't taken seriously. There's a masculine identity throughout the country, meaning men are seen as more powerful and important.

Women are supposed to be seen as modest and sensitive, not independent and powerful like men.

There's continued denial of men's irrational behavior, and they're never caught in the wrong. Judges in court focus on giving men justice, rather than focusing on the trauma of the victims. Less than 15% of perpetrators are convicted and taken to court, where 5% of them are actually convicted and given a sentence. 

What these women need is support for what they've gone through, and justice. After they're raped they can be left with mental, physical and emotional scars. Rape Trauma Syndrome is commonly a part of their life after they've been through this, which is another form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Symptoms are easily seen when someone has this. They become easily frightened, always need to be with someone, develop fears of men, feel humiliated/ashamed, and many lose confidence in themselves. Which goes back to the idea of support. 

In 2018, the "#totalshutdown" represented women of South Africa who in the past were affected by rape, or were taking a stand to put an end to it. This campaign highlighted the need for action, leadership and raised awareness about the acts. Having these women stand up for what they believe in was a historic moment.

I'm trying to raise awareness for the women of South Africa in hopes for a change to be made. Creating new laws for women to get justice, and having support groups for people affected is the best way to undergo this issue. 

We need to lower the rates of rape, and save women from being another statistic. I know that if enough awareness is made a change can be made. 

 

 

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