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South African men hold the key to tackling rape


Summary of story from the BBC, September 30, 2011

Groups of men across South Africa, including self-confessed rapists, are meeting to talk about sexual violence in an attempt to challenge the country’s notorious record on rape.

Dumisani Rebombo, who leads workshops organised by the One Man Can campaign, said: “Most men are silent about this”, but that it is “vitally important” for men to play their part in tackling the rape crisis.

Just as the participation of white people in the black struggle against apartheid in South Africa had added strength to that movement, men “must stand up and work with women” to combat rape, he told the BBC World Service.

Rebombo is himself a confessed rapist who went one step further by seeking out his victim years later, in order to ask for her forgiveness.

He was 15 years old when he and another boy raped a girl in their village – “in order to teach her a lesson”.

He said it took him 20 years to realise what he had done was wrong.

“It dawned on me that I had to find this woman,” he said.

When they met, he apologised and she broke down in tears.

Three years later, he began organising workshops to talk about how to stop other men raping women.

“I would say all men have in one way or another raped,” says Ronnie, a former convict and another member at the workshop.

Many of his fellow inmates were in jail for rape attacks.

“It’s not easy for them to accept what they did was wrong,” he says.

“It’s all about power – men believe they have the right to do as they please.”

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