Why I didn’t report
TRIGGER WARNING: For descriptions of rape, PTSD, violence.
Note: Rape myths abound after the Vavi rape accusation was brought to light. These myths hurt all rape survivors – and if you ever experience sexual violence, these myths will hurt you too. The most common myth I’ve seen is the fallacy that if you don’t report to the police, it didn’t happen. I put out a call on Twitter for survivors who didn’t report to send me their story.
UPDATE [05/11/2013]: These same rape myths have surfaced this week with news that South African musician and Kwaito star Brickz appeared in court on a charge of rape. The rape allegedly took place in March, and the 16-year-old rape victim reported the rape only recently. Her delay in reporting the rape has been used to undermine her story, with some South Africans arguing that, since she only reported her rape now, she is clearly only in it for the money (or some such absolutely flawed reasoning). I have reopened the “Why I didn’t report” series in light of this development.
I know it is difficult for many survivors to put their feelings into words, but if you can, please help me show South Africans that it’s not that easy to report in a patriarchal society bent on protecting a rape culture.
If you would like to include your story in this conversation, please email me: michelle at journoactivist dot com. I will assume anonymity for all submissions unless specified otherwise.
PLEASE NOTE: The “Why I didn’t report” stories are submitted by rape survivors and victims from around South Africa (and a couple from abroad) as well as by their family members and friends. These stories are published anonymously at the request of the authors. Please do not re-publish these stories outside of this website without my permission, as I have to clear this with the author of the story. This is in order to maintain the integrity of the authors’ stories, as well as respect their privacy. Please help me create safe spaces for survivors to tell their stories by respecting this request.
If you are rape survivor and need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to call the ‘Stop Gender Violence’ helpline at 0800 150 150.
I didn’t know it was rape until learning the definition of rape in a psych 101 class.
During the 70′s and 80′s South Africa had compulsory military training (conscription) for all white males, if you refused, you would go to jail for between 10 and 15 years. At the age of 18yrs I was sent to the Air Force for two years and was trained as a radar operator, as I was based close to home and was doing work as an assistant air traffic controller, it was tolerable. Everybody knew I belonged to a very small liberal political party; most white South Africans supported the government with their policy of apartheid. I got used to being ridiculed, on a number of occasions the officers would call everybody for a talk and they would say ” watch out, anybody could be a spy… even..then they would mention me by my rank and name”.
The year was 1994 when i was doing my Grade 1 before that i was staying with my GrandMa but that year i had to move in with my Mom (who is disabled) and My Stepdad. My Stepdad was an abusive man towards my mom especially when he is drunk. so we stayed in a 1 room shack.
I was 15 when I had my first boyfriend.
I didn’t report my rape because I didn’t say no and I thought that made it my fault. I thought no one would believe that I said no with my body when I froze and couldn’t speak. I also didn’t think people would believe I let me boyfriend of over a year rape me because “rape doesn’t happen in relationships”, right?
we were nine. i tell myself i must have imagined it. or maybe dreamt it.
Over and over and over again commenters and tweeple insist on discussing false rape accusations over rape survivors’ experiences and the challenges they face in dealing with their trauma, finding support and reporting to the police. This despite the fact that false rape accusations make up less than a percentage of the total projected rapes… Read More ›
Following the Vavi rape accusation South Africans have questioned the validity of claims of rape where the victim or survivor has not opened a case with the police. This, despite the fact that it is well-documented that rape is vastly under-reported. When confronted with this evidence, many South Africans respond that it is the duty of the rape survivor to report to the police, to take the matter to court and, once there, find justice.
I was living and working with my partner on his boat in a foreign country.
When I was a full time student at the University of Durban Westville I had a gap in my time table that allowed me to have a nice long swim once a week. The walk from the swimming pool back to main campus was a lot of uphill so I would often just stay in… Read More ›
I met the mother of my son in the early 1980’s during the height of all the apartheid nastiness and bullshit.
I’m in my sixties and I have never revealed my story. The first time I was raped by my husband happened about a month after we were married. I was tired, coming down with flu, and the last thing I felt like was sex. He would not accept no for an answer and pinned me… Read More ›
I am a rape survivor. I reported it the first time went to court and the accused was released due to a lack of evidence.
I have just a small story that could have been rape if someone had not disturbed him.
I didn’t report it because I knew what it would mean for me if I didn’t. He was the most popular guy in school.