‘oh well Purple Jupiter you were wrong, it is not every 17seconds that a girl gets raped, it is every 17 seconds that a man gets an erection’ spat Kaelow aka No Life at the last Open Mic I attended.
I literally zoned out, almost choking, my eyes tearing, hands over my mouth, the minute this poet uttered these words blocking my mind from any more of his destructive words reach. While others stood in reverence at the words that wantonly escaped from his lips as he rhymed through what I suppose was meant to save the world as it was rehearsed for over a month in preparation for the Open Mic. Still failing to make sense of his words and still rather surprised at the women who were in favour of his supposed good rhymes, I honoured my womanhood by refusing to clap for him as he delivered his last word in pride, that was the only action I could take at that time in that setting.
For a poet to write a piece on rape, a lot need to have happened, the poet must either have put herself in the shoes of the victim, felt the agony and ran with it, leaving a big chunk of her soul in the gutter, or the poet must sadly have come face to face with this tragedy and that is 99% the case. So for this man to stand at the alter and to profess such deleterious words on womanhood, even if it is to educate, it is plain sick, derogatory and damn right disrespectful and I was not willing, nor am I ever alacritous, to betray my womenfolk’s by rejoicing for words that did not make me any better as a woman.
It’s been just over a month since Annene Booysens’s untimely death, having borne prey to the most inhumane, throat choking attack. After having been gang raped, mutilated and left for the dead at the construction site in Bredasdorp in the Western Cape, Annene was found still alive by a security guard in the morning on the 2nd of February but died later in the day. She died from her injuries in hospital six hours later but to all our relief she managed to identify one of her attackers who was apparently someone that she knew very well. How sad it is that the monsters of our dreams are always in the arms we deem safe.
While Annene’s family still wore their pain across their foreheads, mentioning her name over cups of loneliness, stuck on avenues of nostalgia, her mother still calling hoping she might respond and while the death of this 17 year old set the nation’s rage on fire, awakening the ghosts in the corridors for others, some men still find it attractive and apt to say such words, some men still speak lightly of rape.
While the mentalities of men, men we have conversations with still stun me I was also greatly astounded about the LGBTI response to this tragedy. It wasn’t too soon before this premeditated act of massacre or ‘so called accident’ that led to a death of a child was a point of discussion on all social network forums that I still today am trying to comprehend. While the nation mourned the loss of a child, the LGBTI made this matter a sexuality matter, totally obtuse and unwitting to the reality that stood before us.
Others asking why rape cases are not given the same attention, while I understood their fury with the law, I failed to understand how this butchery was not significant enough to forget their justified rage with the government and to mourn a life that was lost. We have lost many soldiers if LGBTI be an army, cases never making it to court while the ones that actually made it to the ruling are given 2 years punishment while a rhino poacher would be faced with ‘life’ imprisonment. From this point, one can already see who sits on top of the food chain in the law faculty, it is evident that the life of a homosexual costs less than that of a rhino and weighs less than Donkey ribs in our favourite restaurants and while we pray unceasingly for God’s intervention one day, that day when he chooses to listen to our prayers, we cannot close our eyes to other realities just because we are more wounded and obviously more pained than others.
We cannot be so habituated to such torments that we are unable to show compassion for anyone outside our sexual premises. While we pledge to always and unceasingly pay homage to their lives that were cut short by the lot’s miseducation and the need to control who we keep wrapped beneath our skin in the dark, not because they were more our friends than they were our sisters and not because they were more lovers than they were family, but because life is worthy of celebration irrespective of any sexual inclination.
While no one had declared Anene’s sexuality as it was never on the discussion table and therefore irrelevant, we can safely say that the nation’s roar had nothing to do with who stole Anene’s cherry under her sheets, if at all. The nation’s wailing was ordained it was and it was relevant. We cannot now be in rage because no one blew the whistle loud enough when we are being condemned and unjustly crucified but we can hope than when it happens again, we will be considered worthy of the nation’s cry, not on any other level but the fact that we are human before we are anything else and for the recognition that we are sisters and brothers and even mothers and sometimes fathers before we are homosexual whores as we are otherwise deemed. Until then, we will continue to lock our doors, slamming them shut at our cunning uncle’s faces, tell on our brothers who look at us as souls that need to be fixed and re-evaluate the so- called “family friends” and playing as farther from them as we possibly can while we patiently wait for that day when the need equality will matter only on land re-distribution.