For immediate release: 12 April 2017
To Producers, Editors and Reporters
CGE finds the latest Zapiro Cartoon on Lady South Africa Inappropriate
In a country where sexual violence and rape are endemic, the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) finds the latest work on Lady South Africa by Cartoonist Jonathan “Zapiro” Shapiro in a bad taste. The Commission believes the metaphor of using rape to drive the message across is not appropriate. Equally so, it is our view as the Commission that going forward people should not use the word “rape” loosely as it invokes emotion and rescars survivors of rape. The CGE understands that there is freedom of expression, however that freedom comes with responsibilities particularly when it comes to symbolisms that are being used in this regard to communicate a message to the broader society.
The CGE believes that rape cannot be normailised regardless of the situation. As the Commission, we constantly conduct legal clinics and outreach programmes as a way of educating citizenry about the scourge and what to do in instances where rape has taken place. The prevalence of rape as per the 2016 Crime statistics on Sexual Offences was 51 895, moreso with views that this area of crime statistics is prone to under-reporting by victims of crime, which suggests that the SAPS crime statistics relating to sexual offences might not be a true reflection of the current state of sexual offences in the country. Clearly this indicates that the symbolism or the metaphor of rape cannot be used to equate the two as mutually inclusive.
Rape dehumanizes human beings. It is a trauma that those that have not been subjected to it, may think little of it. The CGE therefore is asking Zapiro to reflect and ascertain whether given our diversity this type of symbolism is helpful without restricting freedom of expression. We hope out this he will reconsider the use of rape as symbolism to express his view.
The CGE therefore encourages the public to make use of its Toll – Free number 0800 007 709, to report any matter that relates to gender based violence. Alternatively, members of the public may also visit CGE offices which are based in all nine provinces to report such cases.
Issued by: Commission for Gender Equality (CGE)
Date: 12 April 2017
Contact Person: Javu Baloyi
Tel: 083 579 3306
The Commission for Gender Equal ity is established in terms of Section 181 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa to promote respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality.