Every 50 seconds
Updated: Sep 18
In 2014, Interpol gave South Africa the unenviable title of
"The Rape Capital of the World"
Statistics on sexual violence are notoriously difficult to trust, with official numbers often being just the tip of an iceberg hidden in an ocean of reasons why some attacks are not reported or counted. The various cultural, social and legal barriers behind non-reporting are so complex that it is also difficult to compare numbers between countries.
Regardless of its relative global position in this race to the bottom, the numbers in South Africa are grim.
Reported cases of rape in the country topped the global charts in 2019/20 at 42'298. Several studies have estimated our tip-to-iceberg ratio at about 1:15, meaning that the real number is likely to be 15 fold the reported ones.
Distilling the statistics down to an individual level, it means approximately
1 rape every 50 seconds
This phenomenal frequency threatens to normalise the crime into an expectation. And indeed, one of the first patients I saw at Tintswalo hospital was a 14-year old rape victim, who summarised her experience with a shrug:
"it's just something that happens to us girls"
That is why we want to make a dedicated room for assault investigations.
An official room.
A room that marks the event as something serious. Not "just something that happens"
A room that is private and secure, where the victim can feel safe.
A room that is clean and calm, where she can begin to regain her dignity.
As with most crimes and health risks, sexual assault disproportionately affects the most impoverished communities.
In the community surrounding Tintswalo hospital, women walk home without the protection of streetlights and mobile phones. They sleep in overcrowded rooms and the early exposure to alcohol, drugs and desperation, create a toxic cocktail for abuse.
And after the horror of getting raped, the victim must undergo further trauma and indignity if they want to report it.
Would you want to be examined on this 👆 mattress? No one would. It's just another layer in the complex reasoning why some victims do not report the crime.
We have now received a total of USD1500.00 from YOU, dear donors, to address this issue.
We plan to make a Sexual Violence Investigation Room
with a lockable door and sound proof walls
with a new mattress custom made with an extra-thick wipe-clean PVC cover
several comfortable chairs to accommodate all the necessary persons (police officers, witnesses, social workers, nurses)
a curtain for extra privacy
a place to wash oneself
a desk to write detailed notes
some plants and art to make a sharp cognitive contrast with the hospital
a fan for white noise and fresh air
It's not much to ask.
We're almost there.
Please help us get CHF1000.00 more to get it right.
(Note: Our construction team is going home for the holidays, and taking a well deserved rest. Looking forward to unveiling our NEW High Care room and starting on this project in January 2022!)