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Why victims don’t report abuse

South Africa is notorious for high levels of rape, abuse and gender-based violence.

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TEARS

Even though the numbers are extraordinary high, experts believe the statistics do not tell the full story due to chronic under-reporting.

 

Kerry Marshall, who is a director at the Transform Education About Rape and Sexual Abuse (TEARS) Foundation, says victims do not reports rape and abuse to the police for various reasons.

 

“Having been a victim of abuse as a child, as well as from having worked with many victims, I think one the biggest things is the shame that one feels. You can’t believe that this happened to you, and you feel violated and in some ways you blame yourself. You don’t want people to view you that way or people to know this happened to you.”

She says most victims fear not being taken seriously.

 

“There is a huge fear of not being believed. Culturally and historically a large part of our population and country comes from a very patriarchal place. There is a tendency for society to point a finger at the victim to blame them and accuse them of having done something to provoke the perpetrator. There is also a fear in this country of the police themselves. There is a shortage of police personnel who are properly trained to deal with such sensitive matters,” Marshall says.

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