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South 2 North

Behind the global rape epidemic

We discuss if socio-economic issues can effect levels of rape and what can be done to stop violence against women.

Last Modified: 09 Mar 2013 11:00
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No subject is off limits in the first ever global talk show hosted from Africa in which Redi Tlhabi talks frankly to inspiring and intriguing personalities from across the world.

This week on South2North Redi is honouring International Women’s Day by looking at the persistent and devastating problem of rape.

After the violent rapes and murders of Jyoti Pandey in India and Anene Booysen in South Africa Redi asks: Who are the men who commit these atrocities?

Joining Redi via satellite is Ratna Kapur, a professor of law at the Jindal Global Law School in Delhi. Kapur wrote an article on the crisis of Indian masculinity discussing how the movement of women into the public space has disturbed how men define themselves.

Should the violent and deadly nature of these rapes be called hate crimes?

“I don’t think it’s helpful really to call this a hate crime, all that really does is set up men against women ... men as women-hating ... It has a lot more to do with the fact that we need to start respecting women as subjects, as individuals who are capable of participating in the public arena, in the work place as well as the political space, in the economic and market space as well,” explains Kapur.

In the studio Redi is joined by Professor Farid Esack, the head of the department of religious studies at the University of Johannesburg.

“Crimes against women isn’t a problem of women ... it is a crisis of how we define ourselves as men,” explains Esack.

Esack talks about how his mother’s rape pushed him to become an advocate for women’s rights, and how men who are violent towards women are both destroying the women they attack as well as themselves.

“When I am in a relationship of control over somebody - if I have my feet on your neck, or my hands around your throat, I cannot be free. I can’t be free to enjoy life, I can’t be free to be who I am, or to enjoy the sunshine, I can’t enjoy anything, because I am in a relationship of control. When I remove my feet from your neck, or my hands from your throat, I become liberated.”

Also joining South2North is Dr Amelia Kleijn, who wrote her PhD thesis on the profile of men who rape children under the age of three years old. Kleijn’s intense interviews and qualitative approach has given her insight into what creates a man who can act so violently towards helpless children.

“The things that resonated most strongly for me were two things. One was the appalling level of physical abuse that these men were subjected to and the other was that they had no emotions. They are what we would call psychopaths - and this was linked to the beatings they received as children. They learnt to shut down .… They couldn’t empathise with anyone else.”

Redi, Esack and Kleijn discuss if socio-economic issues can effect levels of rape and how we can raise boys to not repeat patterns of violence.

 

South2North can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 1930; Saturday: 1430; Sunday: 0430; Monday: 0830.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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