The Star Early Edition

Fer­gu­son, lay charges

- Crime · Society · Discrimination · Sexual Abuse · Human Rights · Violence and Abuse · Ferguson, MO

DANNY Jordaan, a pow­er­ful man in pol­i­tics and sport, has been ac­cused of rape by Jen­nifer Fer­gu­son, who once served with him in Par­lia­ment as an ANC MP. South Africans have re­sponded to the news with shock. The con­sen­sus seems to be that Jordaan is guilty.

He is not, of course. No charge has been laid against him.

It is nev­er­the­less an in­trigu­ing case. The rape Fer­gu­son ac­cuses him of oc­curred 24 years ago. A num­ber of is­sues in the mat­ter need to be ad­dressed.

The first is the fact that many peo­ple who have been raped choose not to re­port be­ing vi­o­lated be­cause the law is heav­ily stacked against them. They be­come sit­ting tar­gets in a court of law for clever lawyers – “rape ex­perts” – who have been able to pick them apart on what we be­lieve are spu­ri­ous is­sues: “What type of clothes were you wear­ing?” “Were you drunk?” “Were you flir­ta­tious?” “Were you ask­ing for it?” This is a shame – and a dis­grace. The dig­nity of rape ac­cusers should be pro­tected at all times. As things stand, a rape de­fen­dant, a pow­er­ful fig­ure in so­ci­ety, stands an ex­cel­lent chance of be­ing found not guilty, es­pe­cially if he is rep­re­sented by a good lawyer.

We be­lieve Jordaan did his cause no good by choos­ing to avoid the me­dia and re­main silent for a num­ber of days.

And last week, when he fi­nally de­cided to is­sue a state­ment, it was, quite frankly, bizarre. It was filled with the lan­guage of the pow­er­ful and full of ref­er­ences to him­self as “Dr” Jordaan.

Hon­orary doctors sel­dom put these ti­tles to ev­ery­day use.

Puz­zling too is his con­tention that “in light of the scourge of gen­der-based vi­o­lence in this coun­try and Dr Jordaan’s sen­si­tiv­ity to­ward the is­sue he had to con­sider care­fully his re­sponse, if any, in pub­lic to the al­le­ga­tions made by Ms Fer­gu­son.”

Why did he not im­me­di­ately say: “I didn’t rape Jen­nifer Fer­gu­son”? He could have then is­sued a full state­ment as soon as pos­si­ble after­wards.

We call on Fer­gu­son to lay a charge of rape against Jordaan. We also call on our jus­tice sys­tem to en­sure that the charge is thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gated and Fer­gu­son is treated with dig­nity.

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