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 was married to him, and the rape happened at the time when our marriage was breaking down. I applied for a protection order, for the violence that I thought would end in me being killed by him. The rape was part of the violence that almost killed me, but I lived.
I’m a man and this story in response to the call for traumatic experiences related to rape. It’s not my own but rather one on behalf of a relative who nearly even paid for her supposed indiscretion with her life and never reported it.
So, if it’s not rape, then what is it? Rape is always depicted as an act of violence….but what if it is not so overt? What if it is “don’t be such a ninny”? And “It will only hurt if you are tense.”
I was on a camping trip with friends and sharing a tent with my boyfriend. I said no, he ignored me.
When it comes to being a victim, I am a rapist’s delight.
Because I don’t believe sending someone to prison is going to help me heal.
I didn’t report my rape because I don’t know if it happened.
I didn’t and still haven’t reported my rape, and never will.
It was my birthday and for the first time in my life I allowed my friends to take me out and we had a great time,I then decided to end the day with my boyfriend at the time.Four drunk and high guys came out of nowhere,next thing I knew my jeans were torn and my… Read More ›
I was 7 years old.
Sitting at school, they started talking about child abuse and I was 15 when I realised it had happened to me, I think. What good is reporting about something that happened when I was 6?
Because I didn’t know it was rape.
I didn’t report my rape, because to this day – almost seven years later – I still flip-flop between whether or not it was actually “rape”. It’s funny, if it had happened to anybody else, I probably would say that it was a rape. But because it’s me, well… Anybody who knows me knows that I blame myself for everything. And that night I knew what I was doing, up until a point – I thought I had control of the situation, until I clearly didn’t.
I was raped at four years old by an “uncle”.
X is my cousins best friend. We got together at my cousins 21st many years ago, and dated for about a year. I called it off, for a variety of reasons, the most important being that I knew he wasn’t someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I knew that he felt differently.