Rape culture in Africa

Posted on December 23, 2016 12:07 am

South Africa is Africa’s rape culture headquarters but other African countries are fast catching up. Time has come for Africans to stay on guard against gang rape, a growing phenomenon across the continent. In simpler language, rape culture is the ways in which sexual violence is trivialised and normalised by the actors and general society. It involves victims being blamed, shamed and encouraged to hide their abuse. It can be present in media and institutions like universities as well as general societal practices. Rape culture happens everywhere and few perpetrators are jailed. Most of gang rape perpetrators in African countries were not only adults but also children. Sick mindset of African people on rape and gender equality things always upset many progressive minds. Having an understanding of African culture, it feels hopeless to change these medieval people’s minds and If a woman is seen as a slut, then according to such people deserve to be raped, if a woman is wearing sexy outfit, it means she wanna have sex and every man has every right to rape you, and if you go to a man’s place it’s your subtle way to say yes, and so on.Thats African societies for you.It’s understandable why those men don’t want to change their mindset. Why would they? It gives them a big advantage to just use women around at their will. But what annoys your blogger the most is the fact that there are a lot of African women who still believe in these bullshit told by these men and of course, those traditionalists as well. There are so many cases that mean slutty girls got raped by villains as a punishment at the end and the audience were so very satisfied with that but in fact, no one deserves to get raped no matter how slutty they are. I think this is one of a tools this patriarchal society is using to keep women in control and behave in the way considered ‘fine’. In African countries, you either be a good girl or you’ll get punished and you’ll be worthless. Sadly, not many women have realised this because they’ve been fooled for so long and in Africa, women are still treated as secondary objects. They just sit there and wait for men to define their value and judge how they should be treated.

When I sought views of a gender violence expert in South Africa, she said; “These disgusting attitudes towards rape and victims of it exist everywhere but seeing such ideas perpetuated in the media as much as they are in African societies is really disturbing.” She added that “It’s been really wonderful to receive such a supportive response from African people, and it goes to show that there are lots of people who feel as strongly about it as we do.” However, there’s an argument that as much as such accounts are contributing to the struggle for women’s rights in Africa, they also add to the revisiting of African traditional practices, whereby African men are generalised and portrayed as a weak, with no capability of achieving nothing. South Africa is known as a country with an especially high rape rate, while officials other countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt and Tunisia are known to manipulate the numbers to keep their rape cases low. On the other hand, South Africa statistics look much more probable with many reported rapes occurring every day. How many cases going unreported remains unknown. But in a country where three in five teenagers see rape as an acceptable part of social life, the actual number may be much higher in the land of Madiba. Whatever the statistics, African countries aren’t that bad when it comes to rape. For example, Australia, United Kingdom, US have one of the highest sexual violence rates globally largely because of relatively high reporting and sentencing rates. For instance in Germany, 8% of the female population has fallen victim to rape or an attempted rape in their lifetime.Cases of sexual violence against tourists travelling in African countries always draw a lot of attention but few measures to avert such recurrences despite the negative impact such developments have on African economies. Conservatism of African societies deems it inappropriate for women to show sexual desire before marriage and there are certainly a lot of ways that women’s equality could benefit the women and end this normalised attitudes in African culture. I don’t have solutions on how to address this, but African women’s voices are growing louder on the topic as they begin to speak up on the unacceptable nature of this aspect of the culture and can only hope that the authorities take appropriate action against perpetrators and the public condemn violence.

Contador Harrison