Press release on Clayson Monyela statement on Braamfischerville rape
April 25, 2012 1 Comment
JOINT PRESS STATEMENT
Civil society organisations call for Head of Public Diplomacy, Clayson Monyela, to retract his statement made on 18 April, 2012 regarding the Braamfischerville rape case.
On the 18thApril, South Africa’s Head of Public Diplomacy, Clayson Monyela “prayed” for the rape in prison of a group of boys and men charged with gang-raping a 17-year-old girl. Using Twitter on 18 April, Mr. Monyela said he would be “praying for the 7 rapists to find like-minded monsters in jail to give them a taste of their own medicine”. Mr. Monyela’s statement is dangerous, misguided, and inconsistent with South Africa’s Constitution and laws.
The Braamfischerville rape of a mentally disabled teenage girl by seven men and boys has rightly been the subject of recent media furor. The cell phone video of the assault went viral throughout social media networks, quickly becoming the shame and concern of the nation.
Subsequent media coverage has pointed to the failure by multiple state actors, and patriarchal social norms have been highlighted as contributing to the incidence of sexual violence. Some commentary on the rape case, sadly, has taken on a misguided, retributive and vengeful tone.
Outrage at this rape case has rightly pointed to the unacceptable levels of sexual violence that continue to plague our country. SAPS received report of well over 60 000 rape and sexual assault cases last year alone. A 2009 study by the Medical Research Council found that one in four SA men acknowledged having raped a woman. Alarmingly, men who are physically violent toward women were twice as likely to be HIV-positive and less likely to use condoms.
The crime of sexual assault and rape of inmates, whether by inmates or correctional officials, violates their Constitutional right to human dignity, and their right to be free from violence. These acts also perpetuate the cycle of violence.
Mr. Monyela’s statement dehumanizes the perpetrators of the heartbreaking crime committed in Braamfischerville. Violence begets violence, and this also applies when discussing the issue of prison rape. Offenders are branded as perpetrators going in to prison, but can quickly become the victim of sexual abuse, often on the first night of incarceration. This is also true of remand detainees, 14% of whom are youth, all of whose guilt or innocence has yet to be determined through trial.
Sexual abuse that occurs in correctional facilities reflects and reinforces men’s understanding of sex as an expression of male dominance. Sexual violence and rigid gender roles that are enforced inside detention centres contribute to the abuse of women, men and children and the spread of HIV outside of detention, when inmates are released.
Offenders’ experiences do not occur in isolation. Each year, over 360 000 inmates circulate in/out of South Africa’s prisons, and it is estimated that there is an 80% recidivism rate. Most inmates will return to their communities, and many will end up returning to prison. The connection is clear: what happens to inmates does not stay in prisons, it impacts everyone. Violence in prison fuels future violence, inside and beyond prison walls.
Andile Lungisa, Chairman, National Youth Development Agency, responding to the Braamfischerville case, said: “It is beyond human comprehension what would (motivate) any human being to engage in such an inhumane act of violence, damaging the dignity of another human being in this manner.” This statement is no less true when discussing the rape of an inmate in prison. As a high-level official in South Africa’s diplomatic arm, Mr. Monyela has a heightened duty to speak responsibly and not use his leadership position to fuel violence, in any form.
The undersigned organisations work to promote the protection of inmate health and rights and call for Mr. Monyela to publically retract his statement on or before 1 May 2012.
For additional information, please contact:
|Desmond Lesejane, Deputy DirectorSonke Gender Justice Networkdesmond@genderjustice.org.za084 581 6306||Sasha Gear, Programme DirectorJust Detention Internationalsgear@justdetention.org083 565 7318|
- 1. Sonke Gender Justice Network
- 2. Just Detention International
- 3. Wits Justice Project
- 4. LINALI Consulting – Protecting Children’s Rights
- 5. NICRO
- 6. Restorative Justice Centre