The Doctors Without Borders reveal in their report that South Africa has the same level of rapes as war-thorn countries such as Congo, Colombia and Liberia. In one of the worst “informal settlement” (townships) a woman is raped every 26th second. This has lead to the bizarre situation of societies where raped women are the norm. Although rape-rates of these proportions are nothing to be happy about, they might bring some relief for the exposed women.
I have observed that a big part of the trauma, in association with rape, is shame. A shame that society puts on the woman, as if she was to blame for what had happened. In many cultures (note: including the “civilized” parts of the world) a rape women is regarded as unclean. She can become and outcast, abandon or chased away by her partner and/or family. Her suffering is thus several magnitudes larger that what it “should” be.
I can only speculate, but I wonder if not a raped woman doesn’t benefit from living in a rape-infested society as the above- mentioned township. If rape is becoming a natural part of life, then maybe the stigmatizing burden of having been sexual abused is easier to carry. Women that only have to carry the scarce from the actual assault, and not its aftermath, might have a less painful way back to a normal life (although I do ask myself if life can be regarded as “normal” in a country with murder and rape rates similar to areas of intensive and several armed conflicts).
AB SVD Dagen