Rape taxi crisis brings vulnerability to women

As many more women step forward with allegations of taxi rapes, the Soul City Institute for Social Justice has warned that many more will go unreported as long as victims of rape feel that the justice systems fails to deal effectively with such cases. The Soul City Institute with other concerned citizens and civil society organisations will partake in a march to raise awareness and to create a safe environment for women commuters.

The march will take place today which is organised by the Gauteng Community Safety, 10:00am at Johannesburg Correctional Services Entrance next to Tintis Shopping Centre.

“Women who have been raped while commuting or using public transport need to break the silence and expose the perpetrators. The majority of black women suffer the most in these instances as they often times use public transport and are in most cases the sole providers for their families. ‘We must speak up if we want to bring an end to violence against women,” says Soul City Institute for Social Justice, advocacy manager, Matokgo Makutoane.

“We need to ensure that women are protected while using public transport, there should be no violence towards them.” said Makutoane. “We are calling on government to provide proper counselling for victims or survivors and the taxi industry to take a stand and protect women commuters.” She called for Safe Cities initiative - where women could use online sites to identify unsafe spaces - in order to address the ongoing sexual violence in public spaces - whether on the streets, in public transport, at school and work places.

Makutoane said: “We applaud the few women who have come out and reported the ordeal they went through, we urge more women to speak out.” It’s only when we understand what we are dealing that we can rally around and make sure that women get justice. The South African Police Service reported 42,596 rapes reported in 2015/16. However, there is a high rate of unreported rapes.

Makutoane said the justice system needed to improve how sexual crimes against women were handled: “Many women do not report rape crimes as the police do not take these crimes seriously. In addition, the conviction rate is low in South Africa.”

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