Fight­ing South Africa’s rape scourge

Celebri­ties join drive to raise aware­ness and help sur­vivors

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PEOPLE - KASHIEFA AJAM

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.

PIC­TURE: MARIE CLAIRE

HEAR THIS! Ja­son Hartman.

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