Rape survivors pour their hearts out

A disciplined audience and a group of rape survivors posed some serious questions about police and their duties at the police stations.

Most rape victims have walked a long road to find some semblance of justice after their attacks.

Victims claim that police are failing in their duties when dealing with rape.

However, some victims, who now consider themselves survivors, have begun to patch their lives together after some struggle despite feeling that police had handled their cases negligently.

Rape Crisis hosted a debate on Friday March 29 at the Lookout Hill to discuss some of these burning issues.

It was here that some of the rape survivors had a chance to pose questions to police, forensic social workers and at the same time to share their experience.

While survivors believed that most police officers did not meet the standard required to deal with rape, Lieutenant Colonel Manono Tantsi of the provincial Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) unit had advice for victims.

Lieutenant Colonel Tantsi said victims must inform the investigators when they change addresses.

He said many rapes were perpetrated when the victim was under the influence of alcohol so they might not remember what happened.

Some attacks, he said, took place when the victims were walking alone at night and were dragged to a place they don’t know.

While stressing that people should be free to enjoy themselves anywhere and any time, even at night, he said they should do so with people who they know.

“Remember there are two scenes of crime, your body and the place where it happened.

“These are crucial. There are instances where victims go to police stations under the influence and that gives the police a problem. You can be under the influence but at least know who did what and where.

“But again police should not chase you away. There is something called a skeleton docket. They should open that,” said Lieutenant Colonel Tantsi.

Everyone seemed happy after hearing this.

One rape survivor said she felt a degree of closure in the explanation.

The survivor, from Crossroads, said she was raped at an early age but was disregarded by all, including her family.

She gave birth to a child out of rape.

“At the age of 21, I had to face questions from a child of rape. Remember I was raped and traumatised but on the other side there is a child whom I must explain to. It has been a difficult experience.

“But thanks to organisations such as Rape Crisis, I have come to find closure even though I feel that police should have done a better job,” she said.

Rape Crisis’ Ncediwe Singiswa was happy that the discussions were fruitful.

She said platforms like this help in the healing of survivors. She said her organisation will always have such debates that demand change in police behaviour.

Ms Singiswa also urged the victims to open up and speak out about their challenges at the police stations.

.The big crowd dispersed peacefully after the debate, some with answers and others still searching for these. At the end of the talk, police appealed to residents to report all criminal activities.