Anyone who has taken a look at the Johannesburg court rolls recently would be shocked at not only the number of alleged perpetrators appearing for crimes against women but also the extent of these crimes.
Between Monday 12 June and Tuesday 13 June 2017, six separate cases of rape and or murder were due to be heard at the Johannesburg High Court. What’s most disturbing, however, is the total counts of murder, rape, sexual assault or related crimes that these six cases encompass.
In total, the six alleged perpetrators are accounting for no less than 30 counts of rape, sexual assault and sexual grooming; 16 counts of murder and attempted murder; 49 counts of armed robbery and attempted armed robbery and six counts of kidnapping (cases pending).
South Africans, women especially, are beginning to be shocked more about the volume and frequency of these crimes, rather than their sheer brutality alone. There is something seriously wrong here and unless action is taken, it will not get better.
One of the cases that was due to be heard by the Joburg High Court pertained to Dawie de Villiers. De Villiers was found guilty of the following harrowing crimes: rape, sexual assault, sexual grooming, exposure to child porn, and access to child pornography.
He was due for sentencing on Monday 12 June but proceedings have been postponed. Among the most disturbing of these is ‘sexual grooming’. Sexual grooming takes place when predators identify and build trust relationships with vulnerable children who later become their victims.
Cases like that of Dawie de Villiers reinforces the terrifying point that I alluded to earlier. That these alleged perpetrators are repeat offenders and they repeat their crimes at an alarming rate. One can only deduce that they repeat these crimes because they don’t fear recourse and that they believe they will get away with it.
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The national norm in terms of the police to population ratio is 1:358 as at 2016, according to reports by Times LIVE, in other words, there should be one police officer for every 358 people.
However, in Gauteng, the ratio is one police officer to every 510 citizens as at 2016 according to a report on the Randfontein Herald Online. This proves that police cannot cope with the demands on them. It gives reason as to why there is an upsurge in violence against women.
We have to acknowledge that there is a bigger problem here, a social one: Women are brutalised by men who think they have some right to do so. We, women and men alike have a responsibility to educate other men and women about the fact that violence against women, in any form, is wrong.
We must march, we must be vocal and we must not get tired of talking about how wrong it is to brutally rape and murder women. However, the bottom line is that all this effort will make little difference in the face of an under-resourced policing service.
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