Male rape still considered a joke in South Africa

Given the dismissive attitudes towards male victims of sexual violence in Western countries, it is easy to forget that male victims in other countries face a greater level of hostility. This is particularly true in many African countries where cultural norms still view men as inherently powerful and incapable of being raped unless they are gay.

This attitude can lead many abused men and boys to remain silent since the likely response to their coming forward would be this:

Samkelo Mabaso* was raped by a stranger in Nelspruit last November, but when he told his friends they laughed at him so he decided not to report the rape.

“I still remember that horrible night like it was just yesterday,” said Mabaso (26) who was walking home at around 7pm. “In front of me, there were two ladies and behind me, a man. Those ladies took a turn and I continued on the same road and the man followed me.

“As I was about to take a left turn, the man hit the back of my head.  I woke up in an abandoned house. He was on top of me and he took his penis and put it between my thighs. Then he turned me over and with force, he raped me,” said Mabaso.

The following morning, Mabaso opened up to a group of his friends because he needed their support and advice.

“But instead of comforting me, they laughed at me,” said Mabaso. “One of my friends said: ‘What, are you gay now?’ I just said ‘I’m not gay, I was raped’. But at that moment I knew that disclosing the event and opening a case would be a waste of time because, if my friends thought it was a joke, other people would probably also make fun of me.”

That is a horrible way to treat a friend, regardless of what happened. Continue reading

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