By Pinky Khoabane
Cartoonist Zapiro whose real name is Jonathan Shapiro needs to be raped, hopefully by a gang, to be able to understand the horror of rape and to get it into his skull that rape is not funny and not an act to be used as humour. Rape is not a joke, it isn’t satire and it is not to be used as a metaphor for anything. It is real.
He also needs to understand that black people – both men and women – are sick and tired of the white man’s animalistic obsession with the black body. We are fed up with being depicted as sexual deviant objects whose only role in life is to either rape, if we are men, and the women being for the gratification of others.
In his latest cartoon, Zapiro manages to converge the sexist racist thinking about the black body which has since slavery being depicted as hypersexual. He uses a black woman being gang-raped as a representation of how President Jacob Zuma is treating the country, Shapiro explained. And the big question is why in his vulgar cartoon he would use a black woman as a representation of the country. I didn’t hear him explain this bit but neither was the question posed to him.
Zapiro needs to live and experience the harrowing ordeal of rape victims; being pinned down, fondled for hours by strangers, raped over-and-over. Hopefully his rapists will not have condoms and so on top of his agony he should have the added trauma of praying that he doesn’t get infected with HIV.
Once the physical rape is over, he must then relive it at a police station where he will be reporting the rape and again through the courts. He must get to experience what it’s like facing his rapists in court and then he must face the ineptitude of the judicial system.
Zapiro needs to go through the trauma raped women endure as they go through counselling. He must get to understand how rape changes one’s life forever. For those victims who are kept as sex slaves for days on end, the anti-retroviral therapy administered to rape survivors comes too late.
Rape is the most costly crime to its victims. The education of sexually abused children is negatively impacted and this goes on until adulthood. Rape affects the ability of women to go to work. Fifty percent of sexual violence victims had to quit or were forced to leave their jobs in the year following their assaults due to the severity of their reactions (Ellis, Atkeson, & Calhoun, 1981).
The privilege of whiteness protects Zapiro from the real impact of rape. He will never, due to his white privilege get to experience being a poor black woman who has to face the secondary trauma and re-victimisation of the medical and legal systems. He will never have to go to the police station, hospital and court without the assistance of an advocate.
What he will experience however, will hopefully give him context, when he next thinks of using rape as a metaphor for anything.