The slippery slopes of patriarchy

Patriarchy slapped me right in the face this morning.

I was listening to my new favourite radio station, Power FM. One of the news bulletins covered a story about a serial rapist who committed suicide while in prison. This man had raped 34 girls. The breakfast show anchor, Tim Modise said that it was “unfortunate” that the man decided to kill himself. What?!

What was unfortunate was that it took 33 ‘other’ rapes to catch this man. What was unfortunate was that the he saw it fit to strip 34 girls of their innocence and dignity. What was unfortunate was that 34 girls will probably never have ‘normal’ relationships with men. That’s unfortunate.

The man’s suicide is not.

They then went on to talk about how he may have had psychological problems and how ‘irresponsible’ it was to put a man like him in a solitary cell. Irresponsible.

What struck me was the words these men used to effectively shield one of their own. No one said good riddance or that maybe it was a long time coming. No one spoke of how maybe now the 34 girls could start to heal. No one breathed a word about them.

This brings me to my second on air encounter with slippery words. I decided to tune in to 702 yesterday, for the first time in 3 weeks – just to give them a chance you know. When I changed the station I had done so just in time for John Robbie’s Comment, a segment in which he gets to air his views and opinions.

He was outraged by a comment made by the secretary general of COSAS. In his comment, Tshiamo Tsotetsi called for the castration of rapists. To this Robbie said “did you ever hear such a deeply stupid and dangerous comment?” To answer his question, no. It is not a ‘stupid’ comment, it’s a proactive one. SA has a rife rape culture which cannot and has not been cured by judicial channels. Why not take away the instrument used to rape? Tsotetsi’s comment borders on brilliance.

Robbie went on to say that what Tsotetsi was suggesting promoted vigilantism and would break the law in a violent manner. As opposed to rape which doesn’t right?

If you rape, you should know that you are opening up a world of hurt for yourself. You should be afraid to do it knowing how dire the consequences may be. I back COSAS on this one.

Men should not trivialise how violent and how prevalent rape has become in our society. I am not saying that these men did but the language they chose to use suggested it – well to me in any case.

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