Again, this story comes from BBC Africa. As I was looking through this website I noticed a headline stating that burglaries and sex crimes are on increase in South Africa. There were several corresponding stories to go with the article and I picked this one for today’s post.
Dumisani Rebombo talks about raping a girl in his village when he was 15. He was pressured by his “friends” to teach this girl a lesson because she refused to go out with any of the guys. Dumisani was very scared and shaking like a leaf so his friends told him to smoke some marijuana and drink some beer to calm his nerves. After the rape was done he was haunted by what he had done and tried to avoid this girl as much as possible. Later on he moved away from his village in the Limpopo Province and went to live in the city. As time went by he thought less and less about the incident. After a while he got a job with an NGO (Non-Government Organization), where he worked with unemployed mothers. Every time they reported an incident of abuse he thought about what he had done, “It was as if every time I heard of a negative act by a man, I was forced to go back to my own incident.” After living for years with this guilt pressing down on him and not being able to take it anymore, Dumisani decided to return to his village and ask this woman for forgiveness. By doing so he was taking a risk of being thrown into jail if she decided to press charges. But it was a risk he was willing to take. At first this woman did not recognize him. But when he went on to tell her who he was and what he had done to her, he asked her to forgive him. She broke down and cried. She informed him that since the time he raped her she was raped two more times and now she often cringes when her husband touches her. She still was not able to tell him what had happened to her. “Finally, she said that she forgave me, and thought that I had meant well with all that I had said.” Now Dumisani works with young men in trying to prevent them from raping women and “above all, to grow up respecting girls.”
Like I said in the beginning of my post, sex crimes are on a sharp rise in South Africa! Here is an excerpt from another article entitled “Big jump in S Africa sex offences” on the BBC website: “Earlier this year, a survey in parts of South Africa reported that one in four men admitted to having forced a woman to have sex against her will.” I respect Dumisani for being man enough to go to this woman and ask her to forgive him under the threat of even going to jail. Some of you may not agree and say that “rape is still rape” and that he should rot in jail for what he has done. But look at what he has done with his life! He learned from his mistakes and is now trying to teach other young men not to repeat them!