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Let’s banish rape from the workplace

KGOSIETSILE NGAKAAGAE
The subject of rape is presently, the talk of town. It’s a subject that evokes tempestuous feeling of rage across the gender divide.

Some have even called for the offence to be punished with death, which I think is more emotional than logical. Killing people has never stopped people from committing offences.

The rapist that we need to stop the most is the potential offender. That means every member of the male species. But you can’t subtract from the legitimacy of their rage. I can’t imagine a worse off thing happening to any human being.

I have argued before that the male person is generally a defective and mulfunctional being. The male psyche is generally sexually perverted. Those who have not raped have probably thought of doing it. Many have in fact done it and have been spared its consequences by money, family and friends. I have said many, not all.

Back in the days at the Directorate of Public Prosection (DPP), talk was abundant about Judges of the High Court who had raped office cleaners and clerical staff and had been spared trouble by the system. I am aware, through my work, of many rapists now sitting at CBD, who should properly be at the Village.

Money, influence, friends, and corrupt systems saved them. It is true that we have a rape culture. One that quickly sympathises with the perpetrator and overlooks the immediate hurt of the victim.  One that seeks to preserve institutional reputations above the dignity of employees.

An employer, who being aware of a credible report of rape in the workplace, or in the course of duty, and who fails to ensure that it is reported, must commit an offence and be liable to the same penalty as the rapist.

Further to that, there must be a civil compensatory order payable to the victim by the institution over and above such as may be ordered against the perpetrator. We must smoke rape out of institutions and workplaces. Forget policies. Those are useless.

I have always rejected the notion that most rape incidents happen at night to scantily clad or hopelessly drunk women. In fact that is an utter load of moo.

It is just that rape cases that happen in the workplace hardly ever get reported and where they are, there is always money and power to hush the victims. Issues of status and organisational reputations are put before victims’ welfare, and in many cases, victims are threatened or threaten themselves with physical hurt and career ruin. Then they just give up and let the rapist go.

But you can only threaten somebody for so long. Women with historical instances or workplace rape must be encouraged to come forward and lodge complaints.

That would shoot rapist judges, CEO and executives

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from their filthy perches. No woman should be blamed for reporting late if her story is credible and a late report must receive the same attention as an early one. The burden of proof must however, remain the same.

Women who suffer rape must further be entitled to compensation by their abusers within the criminal trial. Magistrates and Judges must be empowered to award monetary compensation over and above the conviction. Even where the burden has not been discharged beyond reasonable doubt, but the magistrate is convinced that such has been discharged on a balance of probabilities, the complainant must be allowed to pray for a civil remedy within the criminal case as part of the post-conviction proceedings.

A minimum civil penalty must be legislatively set by way of compensation to the victim. Some prohibitive figure. The court can work the amount up based on the circumstances of each case. We must lessen the agony and burdens placed on rape complainants to get justice in its fullness and I post that a conviction alone is not complete justice for a victim of rape.

That includes the trouble of paying a lawyer to sue for damages. A victim’s compensation must be within the criminal trial. No complainant must go through the same judicial violation for the second time in the pursuit of a civil remedy. Alternatively, government must set up a fund to foot the legal bills for credible civil claims based on rape. I would love to hear a debate on this. Where there is a will, there is a way.

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My complaint today is that there is little, if any, monetary compensation for rape victims. The system presupposes that all have the money to tussle with men in high offices. Where a victim knows that they would be compensated if successful, they would likely discard the fear of losing their jobs and just take the crappy Judge, Minister, Manager, CEO or employer on.

Rape should have no place in the workplace. That is where people spend most of their times. Abusive husbands would learn to keep their hands off house helpers when the madam is away. Again, BDF recruits would be safe. I hear that many suffer anal violations at the hands of their trainers and superiors and cannot report because their violators are all too powerful.

Let us banish rape from the workplace. And “the workplace”, must be given a generous and purposive meaning as opposed to a geographical one. Let us starve rapists of functional space.



Chief On Friday

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