BBC News – Will South Africans ever be shocked by rape?

When it comes to rape, does African society need to get actively involved in the issue of rape, do Africans need stronger values and a fear of God, or is it something else?  This question is echoing endlessly and without reply in my mind.

From BBC News corespondent  Andrew Harding, come these chilling words:  ”  The 22 year old was still sitting inside the makeshift bar in Soweto, when the police came for him. It was a few days before new years. According to witnesses, the man had just attacked and raped a 17-year-old girl at his table, but apparently considered the incident so trivial that he had not even tried to flee. Nor had anyone else in the bar, besides the alleged victim, thought of contacting the police.”  The entire report is here.rape womein

I have always wondered if the stories of Sodom And Gomorrah could be real?  Could any place on Earth really be that perverted, callus and cruel.  After reading about the Delhi Gang Rape in India and now of the South African cruelty to women, I am sure Sodom And Gomorrah were real.  I am privileged and  blessed to be in America where my dad described American Democratic society as the best of the worst.  We do indeed have our problems but I am thankful this is not one of them as I have family that are very important to me.

The differences in our world’s societies and cultures is very clear to many cruel people in this world.  The Islamic radicals tell us they love death and we in America love life, and that is why they will wipe us from the Earth.  They are very wrong in thinking they will wipe us from the Earth,  but they do point out clear differences in values.  I have  always thought those values spring from God, religions that praise the love of God’s creations and mature cultures; I still believe this.  However, I know that one’s personal experience of life as being surrounded by life’s opportunities or the proximity of death certainly tempers those values.  For example, some people who have great  reputations for doing good, can become downright dangerous when all they have earned is threatened.

When I worked for many years in the ghettos of NYC, I heard a perspective I did not at first understand.  A black man told me that “religion was created by white folks to keep blacks down in the ghettos.”   It was an awakening for me.  He had grown up in a place that told him human life had little value.  I had the opposite experience, to some extent.

Does the South African daze in the light of public rape, represent a lack of  values, life experience that denies the value of human life  or something else?  The reporter did not address these issues. His report, to me,  was somewhat meaningless.  It should at least describe the context of the crime and from this perhaps raise the question that is baffling to me and others.

I would not forgive the rapist even if his life was that of my ghetto acquaintance.  Nor will I forgive the Nazis who were “sadly oppressed” by the economic depression and inflation in Germany.  However, I think that good reporting goes beyond reporting what you see and must include some thinking about why what you are reporting has happened!   Perhaps it should even include speculating about how to resolve what you have discovered.

Somewhere there are answers. I hope and believe that common people can come up with solutions that leadership is often too bureaucratic and  self serving to seek.  Another reason I admire the Zapatistas.  I am praying that their efforts at more recent non-violent change can succeed and prove a model for human society to follow.

Janr Ssor

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