South African rape statistics are double the country’s murders rate. When Khensani was raped in May, Every other 26 seconds of the day, another student, daughter or any other woman was raped in South Africa. When she took her own life in August, 22 other people took their own lives in our country. However, only one case received the attention every other case deserves.
I believe we would all be dealing with our traumatic experiences better if all our rape cases and our loved ones’ rape motivated cases had the attention of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), just as Khensani Maseko’s. Perhaps Rhodes University (RU) students would have less suicidal thoughts if all their rape incidents, reported or not, had the communications director Luzuko Jacobs’ attention. There would probably be less dropouts from Rhodes if we all had two-day academic shutdowns for our suicidal attempts, either failed or successful. We would have to worry less about South Africa being the rape capital if Graca Machel was disturbed by the rape-motivated suicides of underprivileged women.
Women, with much less power privilege, have been criminalised and denied their degrees for fighting against rape culture in the institution. Rapists, who have been reported, named and shamed have had insignificant punishments like 2-year bans and what in RU culture is called “hours” in the dining areas. South Africa has become a country where a woman beater is named a legend; a murderer gets a 32-year sentence and a rapist a slap on the wrist. Life would be full of hope if all reported rapists at the institution were suspended and victims did not have to see them every day.
It is disturbing how all are willing to help when a life is lost. We fight flashbacks from rape incidents every day and we fight suicidal thought every day. We fight the edge to harm ourselves every day. Only when we do not have any more fights left in us, only then, is the world willing to help.
Dear Khensani, you do not matter when you are dead, you matter when you are privileged.