Last month, a young woman was gang raped on a bus in Delhi, India. The woman, sadly passed away in hospital after receiving critical treatment. This attack has triggered widespread protests across India, and indeed other parts of the world where rape a …

Samantha Ritchie

Last month, a young woman was gang raped on a bus in Delhi, India. The woman, sadly passed away in hospital after receiving critical treatment. This attack has triggered widespread protests across India, and indeed other parts of the world where rape and sexual assault is now being described as an ‘epidemic’.

In 2009, we seen shocking results from a survey carried by the Medical Research Council in South Africa. Where, one in four men admitted to carrying out rape and, where more than half admitted to committing more than one attack. The survey also highlighted that gang rape was considered a form of male bonding. This, is possibly why Johannesburg is considered the rape capital of the world.

On Tuesday, a woman was gang raped by five men as she was waiting to register at Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa. Despite the mass protests in India there doesn’t seem to be the same outrage in the country. Some activists feel that this attack will be forgotten about pretty quickly as many don’t want to address the issue of rape and sexual violence.

Moreover, in South Africa we are also now seeing lesbians living in fear from rape and murder. Men are carrying out rape on gay women to ‘correct’ their sexual orientation. This practice is on the increase in South Africa where more than 10 incidents a week in Cape Town alone is being recorded. And many people still say a large majority are not coming forward because they are afraid the police will laugh at them, or their attackers will come after them.

However, incidences of sexual assault and violence are not just an issue in South Africa and India. Recently we have seen Lara Logan, an American Journalist, come forward and describe how she was attacked while reporting in Egypt. This attack went on for 25 minutes in a large crowd, with men ripping off her clothes, pulling her body apart and her hair being tugged so hard that she felt they were going to rip her skull open.

The Egyptian Centre for women’s rights has stated that more than 80% of Egyptian women have experienced some form of sexual harassment.

Rape, sexual assault and harassment are forms of sexual violence. In South Africa, where gang rape is a ‘male bonding’ experience or in India where a young woman committed suicide after being told she had to marry one of her attackers, because of the shame it brought on her family. Rape is now a widespread epidemic where women are treated as sex dolls rather than human beings. There has been protests in India against such attacks, but in countries such as Egypt and South Africa where rape is not seen as something to ‘get angry’ or protest about we need to campaign across the world to stop these attacks happening.

We need to get behind demonstrations and campaigns to lobby governments into seeing rape as a widespread issue in countries such as South Africa, Egypt and India. International solidarity will ensure that campaigns become widespread and we fight for women’s rights across the world.


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Samantha Ritchie