Education will help to stop rape

K Mnduzulwana, Khayelitsha

I am a resident of Town Two and I write this email because I have something to say that I feel very strongly about.

Recently I have been hearing so many comments from a woman close to me about the way I sit or the way I dress.

Today she came home from work and she said I was in trouble. I asked her what she was talking about and she told me that someone overheard a bunch of guys talking about raping me because of how I sit when I’m facing the streets.

What shocked me was not what the boys said but rather how this woman delivered the message to me saying that I’m in trouble.

This to me shows that she is blaming me for the boys having these thoughts, and it deeply troubles me because if I do get raped my first thought naturally will be to go to those closest to me but how will I go to them when I know that some will say that it’s my fault?

The reason I am writing to you is because I think people need to be educated about rape and doing it through a newspaper will make a huge impact.

Telling girls “Do not wear that skirt because it’s too short” or “Don’t go out so late” or even after a victim has been raped telling them they were “asking for it” is encouraging boys and men to rape girls and women because of what they wear and the boys and men know they can go back to blaming us girls and females for being vulnerable.

I believe the only way to prevent rape is to teach boys and men to resist, Hold back the urge and do not rape! Teach them to first of all respect themselves and to respect all women.

I also believe the reason so many people who are raped don’t report it is because of these demeaning comments and the judgement.

I cannot stress this enough and I want people, especially in black communities, to be educated about rape.

It is never the victim’s fault.

* Yesterday, Wednesday March 8 was International Women’s Day and the 2017 campaign theme is #BeBoldForChange – a call to help forge a better working world, a more gender-inclusive world.