'Why we raped’

Among the reasons given for why they committed rape are culture, alcohol, economic reasons, jealousy and bad friends.

07 November 2019 | Crime

ELLANIE SMIT



Fifteen rapists have opened up about why they forced their victims to have sex, with most saying it was because they were under the influence of alcohol and drugs, but also because they see women as “inferior”.

These revelations are contained in a research thesis by a University of Namibia (Unam) masters student that included interviews with social workers as well as case management officers.

The study, ‘An investigation into rape offenders’ explanations of why they raped: A case study of offenders at Windhoek Correctional Facility’, was conducted by Nangula Kefas.

It found that men from poor educational backgrounds, and who are single, are more likely to commit rape. Certain cultural practices, economic conditions, means of survival, power and masculinity, alcohol and drug abuse and family background also influence rape.

A 53-year-old perpetrator said the day of the incident he was drinking a lot at a shebeen and also used dagga.

“I took the lady home and tried having sex with her, but she refused, so I forced myself on her. I felt like she had no right to refuse because I spent my money on her.”

Another 38-year-old rapist tells of how he and his co-accused got drunk and smoked dagga on the day of the crime.

“On our way home we started talking about sex and then something came into my mind to rape someone. My co-accused and I decided to look for someone to rape.

“We went to people’s houses and we told each other that we were going to knock, and if a women opens, we are going to rape her.

“We couldn’t get anyone to rape and then we decided to go to the hospital to look for a lady there,” the rapist said.

“We didn’t get anyone and then we went to my co-accused’s house where we got his 10-year-old niece. We took her from the house, took her to the bush, then we stabbed her because she didn’t want to do what we asked her and then after we raped her.”

A 43-year-old perpetrator said he believes alcohol plays a role, but that women are inferior.

“For me, I believe alcohol influences rape, although there are other causes like culture and things like that. I honestly don’t think I would have raped her if I wasn’t drunk. I wasn’t thinking straight, but also maybe just that I believe that women are weaker made me rape her.”

A 32-year-old perpetrator said: “I don’t want to blame the alcohol, I knew what I was doing, it was wrong. But I wouldn’t have done it on a day that [I was] sober. I raped her because I felt I like I had control over her.”

Another perpetrator said the woman he raped had no right to refuse sex, because he spent money on her.

“I took the lady home and tried having sex with her, but she refused, so I forced myself on her. I felt like she had no right to refuse because I spent my money on her.”

The survey finding revealed there were some rapists believed there was consent, but they were convicted because the victim was under-age.

Tjiramue

Other perpetrators indicated they raped because they were following certain cultural norms such as the Tjiramue tradition in the Ovaherero culture.

Tjiramue is a cultural practice among the Ovaherero where a male is allowed to have sex with their female cousins, regardless of whether they are married or not.

However, the perpetrators also indicated that they were asked for money by their victims or they were financially supporting their victims.



Incest

A number of rape incidents also involved incest. Some rape perpetrators indicated they had raped their nieces or cousins as way of following a particular traditional norm.

Some perpetrators indicated they had promised their victims money and they were reported when they failed to make payment.

Perpetrators also indicated they raped their wives or partners.

They also revealed they committed the crime while under the influence of alcohol.

They indicated they were not thinking straight during the time they committed the crime and they were not in their right state of mind.

According to the study, perpetrators also indicated they would not have committed the crime if they were not under the influence of alcohol.

Social workers

Meanwhile, key informants to the study such as the social workers and case management officials also indicated there are a lot of factors contributing to rape. These indicated culture, alcohol, economic reasons, jealousy and bad friends.

The study also referred to the National Plan of Action on Gender Based Violence (2012-2016), which revealed there are between 1 100 and 12 00 rape cases reported each year. This report found that most rape cases were committed by family members or acquaintances, with only about 12% being committed by strangers.

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