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Help Sexual Assault Victims in South Africa Achieve Justice

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      Every year, thousands of women in South Africa deal with unfair treatment from the authorities after they face accounts of domestic violence and rape. Rape is a punishable crime in South Africa, however it is not treated as such. According to the book You May Ask Yourself, “crime is the violation of laws enacted by society” (Conley, 189). The criminal justice system in South Africa is backwards, as many women who are victims of sexual assault and domestic violence don’t bother reporting their cases to the authorities because little is done to help them or prevent future accounts of assault. According to the International Finance Magazine, The Economist, “of over 500 sexual assault cases reported to the Diepsloot police since 2013, only one case led to a conviction… it is estimated that only one in every nine cases of rape is reported to the police” (The Economist). As rape and domestic violence in South Africa continue to be considered a crime that goes widely unpunished, more and more people will think that it is a crime that is okay to commit. According to the book You May Ask Yourself, “The broken windows theory of deviance explains how social context and social cues impact the way individuals act; specifically, whether local, informal social norms allow such acts. When signals seem to tell us that it’s okay to do the otherwise unthinkable, sometimes we do” (Conley, 214). As the authorities of South Africa continue to allow rape and domestic violence as a norm in South African society, the more likely statistics of rape are going to rise.

      I’m petitioning for the South African Police Service to do a better job at finding and convicting perpetrators of domestic violence and sexual assault in order for women to feel all around more comfortable in reporting their cases to the authorities. This will also aid in lowering statistics of rape and violence against women in the country of South Africa, as a more aligned criminal justice system will show society that rape and domestic violence is a punishable crime by law. The thousands of sexual assault and domestic violence victims in South Africa deserve to receive justice that they are not given solely because of the male dominated authoritarian positions. In 2006, the current president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, was accused of raping a close family friend. Guilty or not, perpetrators of rape and domestic violence continue to walk the streets of South Africa while their victims hide in the shadows. I am requesting that there be a solid punishment for those who rape or inflict violence upon innocent women so that victims will feel more comfortable going to the authorities and filing cases against their perpetrator(s).

    As a woman and human being, this cause matters greatly to me as I cannot stand the thought of my fellow women living in fear every day of being violated against their will. Further, I cannot stand the idea that perpetrators that inflict such crimes are allowed to walk free after they do so without going to trial or receiving any sort of punishment. To the South African Police Service, protect your country's women so that they can flourish side by side with the men in society who are able to do so freely. Although violence and rape will always be prevalent in society, it does NOT have to be accepted as a norm.

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