• Although our paths regularly cross with those of homeless people, we seldom think about them as potential vulnerable victims of serious crime. Read more about the in-depth article about how they are affected from p 44 in Servamus: February 2018.

    Although our paths regularly cross with those of homeless people, we seldom think about them as potential vulnerable victims of serious crime. Read more about the in-depth article about how they are affected from p 44 in Servamus: February 2018.

  • Ever thought about the fact that those who are falsely accused of crime are also victims? We explore the impact of these false allegations on these victims and look at the trauma of serving time when you are innocent in an article published from p 28 in Servamus: February 2018.

    Ever thought about the fact that those who are falsely accused of crime are also victims? We explore the impact of these false allegations on these victims and look at the trauma of serving time when you are innocent in an article published from p 28 in Servamus: February 2018.

  • Members of Flying Squads often arrive first at crime scenes to confront dangerous criminals. This month we pay tribute to the hardworking heroes of the Johannesburg Flying Squad and introduce their commander. Refer to the article from p 50 in Servamus: February 2018.

    Members of Flying Squads often arrive first at crime scenes to confront dangerous criminals. This month we pay tribute to the hardworking heroes of the Johannesburg Flying Squad and introduce their commander. Refer to the article from p 50 in Servamus: February 2018.

  • Many victims of crime choose not to report the incident to the police. We explore the reasons why; find out whether it is a situation unique to South Africa and look at the consequence of non-reporting of crime in an article published from p 10 in Servamus: February 2018.

    Many victims of crime choose not to report the incident to the police. We explore the reasons why; find out whether it is a situation unique to South Africa and look at the consequence of non-reporting of crime in an article published from p 10 in Servamus: February 2018.

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- The fate of victims of sexual crimes
Compiled by Kotie Geldenhuys

“You were wearing a low cut, short mini dress, what did you expect?” Those are often the first words a rape victim hears when she tells someone from whom she trusted to get support, after she was raped by a friend at a party. Victims who come forward to report what happened, often have to answer ridiculous questions such as: “How much did you drink?” or “what did you wear?” These questions about the victim’s behaviour and choices are sometimes almost as painful as the violent act itself. Victims often stumble upon rape culture: a culture in which sexual violence is the norm and victims are blamed for the attacks on them.

The SAPS recorded a total of 39 828 cases of rape for the 2016/2017 financial year. These statistics are shocking because they represent what happened to real people. Unfortunately, several incidents of rape go unreported as many children, women and men don't report the crime for fear of being blamed; not being believed; experiencing secondary abuse; or that the criminal justice system will fail them. Rape culture and the practice of victim blaming are inherently linked phenomena which are prevalent in the South African society. The existence of a rape culture which normalises sexual violence and blames rape victims for the attacks against them, strongly influences the outcomes of rape trials and the treatment of rape victims.

What is a rape culture?
The term "rape culture" is often used to describe the way a society can contribute to the normalisation, endorsement and often even justification of sexual violence. Examples of rape culture, according to the Southern Connecticut State University in the USA (www.southernct.edu/sexual-misconduct/facts.html), include:

  • blaming the victim (such as by saying "She asked for it");
  • trivialising sexual assault such as: "Boys will be boys";
  • telling sexually explicit jokes;
  • tolerating sexual harassment;
  • publicly scrutinising a victim's clothes, mental state, motives and history;
  • gratuitous gender violence in movies and television;
  • defining "manhood" as dominant and sexually aggressive and "womanhood" as submissive and sexually passive;
  • pressure on men to "score";
  • assuming that men don't get raped or that only "weak" men get raped; and
  • refusing to take rape accusations seriously, which is what happened in the Bob Hewitt case where one of the victims' mothers didn't believe her when she told her
  • that he had raped her (refer to the Crime Series about this case as published in Servamus: June 2017 from p 36).

In this article we will also briefly look at so-called corrective rape (this describes the phenomenon whereby women are raped for being lesbian); male rape; revenge rape and cyber rape, as the rape is being justified in some way or another and/or the victim is being blamed for what happened to her/him in all these types of rape.

Victim blaming
Victim blaming comes in many forms and it can apply to rape and sexual assault cases, but also to more common crimes, such as when a man is pickpocketed and is then blamed for his decision to carry his wallet in his back pocket. In rape cases, victim blaming happens when a rape victim is told to take responsibility for the crime, or that both the victim and the rapist are equally to be blamed. This creates the false idea that rape is something the victim is responsible for or something people can easily avoid.

Not everyone who engages in victim blaming explicitly accuses victims of failing to prevent what has happened to them. In fact, in its more understated forms, people may not always realise they are busy playing the blame game. Even hearing about a crime and thinking you would have been more careful had you been in the victim's shoes is a mild form of victim blaming (Roberts, 2016).

McKaizer (2017) stresses that the culture of victim blaming is insidious and that even women participate in it. In one case an older woman called a South African radio talk show and urged women who are raped not to walk away from the rapist but to help their rapist deal with "the wounds and anger" that cause them to rape. She cited the example of a perpetrator who had been abandoned by his dad. His absent father had left the boy "wounded and angry". The boy sexually assaulted a girl. This woman then said that the victim had a responsibility not to walk away but to help the perpetrator. The level of perversity in this comment is horrific. It stems from a seemingly innocent motive: the desire to help stop that young rapist from raping more girls. But why should a survivor of rape be held chiefly responsible for recovering the humanity of the monster who attacked her? This is victim blaming on a whole new level - it sends a message to girls and women that they are responsible for being attacked and that as punishment for their supposed irresponsibility of making boys and men rape them, they must also help to soothe their victim-rapist. In cases like these, the perpetrator is regarded the victim and the victim is seen as the perpetrator. Isn't it shocking?

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[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: February 2018. The rest of the article focuses on the media’s role in rape culture and victim blaming; corrective rape as part of the rape culture; the secret shame of male rape - part of the rape culture; a culture of revenge rape and cyber rape as part of the rape culture in a technologically mad world. To enquire how to obtain the rest of the article, contact Servamus’s offices at tel: (012) 345 4660 or send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]

Servamus - February 2018

In high profile cases such as that of the Modimolle monster or Oscar Pistorius, the public heard, through the media, what impact the violent crime had on the victim and their families.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
People sleeping on sheets of cardboard under dirty old blankets on pavements or on dark park benches are a familiar sight when driving through the suburbs late at night.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
“You were wearing a low cut, short mini dress, what did you expect?” Those are often the first words a rape victim hears when she tells someone from whom she trusted to get support, after she was raped by a friend at a party.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
If you have been the victim of a property-related crime such as a housebreaking, stay in an urban area or have relatively easy access to a police station, chances are very good that you will report it to the police.
By Annalise Kempen

Pollex - February 2018

Read More - Solidarity [Trade Union] [on behalf of Sgt Armand] Gerber v SAPS and Others (C381/17) [2017] ZALCCT 36 (11 August 2017)*
This is a judgment of the Cape Town Labour Court which began when Sgt Gerber approached the court. Sgt Gerber suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of a traumatic event in the course of his duty as a member of the SAPS.
Towards the end of 2017, various news agencies reported a story about a female university student from the Eastern Cape who mistakenly received a payment of R14 million instead of R1400 from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
Read More - S V Byleveld 2017 (1) SACR 218 (NWM)
“252A. Authority to make use of traps and undercover operations and admissibility of evidence so obtained
Read More - S V Masoanganye and Others 2015 (2) SACR 577 (NWM)
Five accused persons were convicted and sentenced by a single judge before the High Court in Mahikeng in the North West Province on charges of theft, all in respect of amounts stolen from the Guardian Fund (Afrikaans: “Voogdyfonds”).
Read More - S V Ramoba 2017 (2) SACR353 (SCA)
The accused, who was 33 years of age at the time of sentencing before the regional court in Tzaneen in Limpopo, was convicted on 12 very serious charges whereupon he and his co-accused, were each sentenced to an effective term of 52 years’ incarceration.
These Regulations appear as Government Notice No R 1138, in Government Gazette No 41203 dated 27 October 2017 (“the ‘new’ Regulations”).

Letters - February 2018

A former police member, Lt-Col Mathews Leballo, has since his retirement not forsaken the needs of vulnerable groups.
The management and staff of Evaton SAPS got to celebrate Christmas on 20 December 2017 with Christmas Carols. The event was blessed by the Provincial Head Office Chaplain Rev Mudau.
A lot of crimes have been committed in 2017 and previously and some of these offenders are regretful of committing criminal acts.
Brig N G (Natty) Govender enlisted into the South African Police with the intention of becoming a motor technician.
According to an article published in the Sunday Times at the end of 2017, the SAPS has splashed out on what are believed the most expensive bulletproof vests in the world.
February 2018 Magazine Cover

Servamus' Mission

Servamus is a community-based safety and security magazine for both members of the community as well as safety and security practitioners with the aim of increasing knowledge and sharing information, dedicated to improving their expertise, professionalism and service delivery standards. It promotes sound crime management practices, freedom of speech, education, training, information sharing and a networking platform.