Fighting South Africa’s rape scourge
Celebrities join drive to raise awareness and help survivors
TV PRESENTER Jeannie D doesn’t know anyone who has been raped or has been affected by rape.
She in a very lucky minority. In South Africa the statistics are grim: one in two women will be raped, one woman is raped every 17 seconds and about 1 300 women are raped every day.
Although Jeannie has never met a rape victim, she is more than aware of the dangers as a young female living in South Africa. “I know what it feels like to worry about being home alone or driving alone because of the chance of anything of the sort happening. The statistics speak for themselves.”
Jeannie is one of several prominent local celebrities who took part in Marie Claire magazine’s annual Naked Campaign to raise awareness of the unacceptably high level of rape in South Africa, while raising funds to help rape survivors.
The celebrities – including Idols winner Jason Hartman, YFM DJs and twins Hlelo and Ntando Masina, 94.7 Highveld Stereo DJ and All Access presenter Pabi Moloi and Bafana Bafana’s Matthew Booth and his wife, Sonia – have bared their souls and bodies in the hope of having their voices heard against rape.
Aspasia Karras, editor of Marie Claire magazine, says according to research one in four South African men admit to coercing a woman into having sex. “This is an alarming figure and it’s our duty to raise awareness of this crisis,” she says.
Jeannie, speaking to the Weekend Argus from Los Angeles this week, said she supported the campaign wholeheartedly and believed it was an issue that needed to be highlighted. “Before I agreed to do the campaign I was given some information from the Rape Crisis Trust and was shocked beyond belief, I felt so ignorant because I had no concept of the severity of the situation. So many people live in fear in South Africa with reference to the crime. However, the fear lies in what accompanies the crime.”
And the Top Travel presenter makes no bones about what she thinks of rapists. “Rapists do not deserve to live in a free and functioning society, they gave up that right when they violated and destroyed another person’s world,” Jeannie said.
Idols winner Hartman, who can be seen singing naked into a microphone in his campaign picture, is shocked by SA’s rape statistics. “People need to be more vociferous in their protest against rape.
“For me, the campaign is about working towards bringing an end to a truly vile and brutal crime against women in our society,” Hartman said.
The Naked Campaign is in support of the Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust and ties in with Rape Crisis’s 1 000 Hearts campaign, which aims to raise awareness while raising funds to help rape survivors.
To make a donation to the campaign visit rapecrisis.org. za and purchase a virtual heart for R100 a month. In return, your name will appear on Rape Crisis’s digital heart wall. To find out more and how to contact your local branch call 021 447 1467.
HEAR THIS! Jason Hartman.