No one should suffer in silence
Sexual assault and gender based violence (GBV) are themes that pop up throughout MTV Shuga. Whilst it seems pretty clear on paper, sexual assault can be more complicated than we realise…
GBV and sexual assault refer to any kind of physical, psychological and/or sexual harm that a person experiences based on their gender, whether they identify as male or female. Threatening someone with violence, manipulation and coercion are also worrying types of GBV.
Importantly, having sex is a choice. Being forced to have sex with someone because of violence (or the threat of it), manipulation, or other forceful means is wrong. Robbing someone of their freedom to decide who they have a sexual relationship with can never be justified. As well as the emotional and psychological harm it places on them, it can also have some long-term consequences in terms of a person’s physical health.
The lack of condom use during instances of sexual assault is a significant worry. Being forced to have sex reduces your ability to negotiate safe sex and make sure the person involved is wearing a condom. This can lead to unwanted pregnancies, STI infections and HIV.
Whilst GBV affects both men and women, it is young girls and women that experience significantly greater levels of sexual assault. This is the case throughout the world. 1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual violence across the globe.
In South Africa, 42,696 women reported being raped in 2015/16. This massive figure fails to paint the true story of sexual assault, as less than 40% of women who experienced any form of violence throughout the world reported the incident to the police. This figure varies across different states, and a study in Gauteng, South Africa, found that only 3.9% of women who had been raped reported the crime.
Suffering from GBV is devastating. It’s even worse when you feel like there is no one to turn to. If you or someone you know has experienced then there are different places where you can go to for help. Whether it is speaking to a friend, filing a complaint with the police, or visiting a healthcare worker, help is always at hand. No one should suffer in silence.