What is Wrong with People?

What is it… what is it that defines us? What is it… what is it that should unleash the humanness in us? And what is it that tears our society asunder? What is it that makes us capable of sleeping soundly through the night when our neighbours are adrift, ablaze, hungry and angry?  How many times have we declared that people should take their frustrations elsewhere and not lay them at our doors? ‘It’s their problem!’ not ours!

What if the roles were reversed and their problems became ours, would we not wish of them to do or say something?

That’s what motivates us at uSpiked… That’s what motivates us to continue telling the stories of those who can’t tell them for themselves… to amplify the voices of the otherwise voiceless amongst us.

Do we believe this alone is enough? Does telling their stories in itself make us more human? Does the amplification of these voices serve to salve our consciences? Definitely not! There is always more to be done – and at the same time there are always more stories that have to be told.

Let’s take the tragic case of P***, for instance. Should we wait for such atrocities to hit close to our own homes before we acknowledge and address the indifference, the injustices, the sheer downright evil prevailing in our society?  Absolutely not: it is uSpiked’s firm and stated conviction that what hurts the least of those amongst us, hurts us all.

When we approached the various NGO’s purporting to be interested in addressing women’s rights, we didn’t do that to obtain quotes to enhance P***’s story. Naively, probably, we had hoped that the individuals behind organisations such as WLC, POWA, Rape Crisis, and others would maybe stop to re-examine themselves and take stock of what they could be doing better. We may not know what goes on behind their closed doors, but we surely know that the various conferences and talk-shops haven’t thus far yielded much by way of relief for victims.

So what do P*** and the other voiceless thousands like her really need? Not even necessarily compensation – there are some hurts that go too deep for that – but they do need JUSTICE. If she is ever to have any kind of fruitful life, P*** needs to know beyond any doubt whether what happened to her for nearly a decade was right or wrong, and whether it is punishable by a justice system she believes is there to protect her. She would like to know whether anybody cares enough to believe her. The people in Eldorado Park, amongst whom she has to continue to live, have been duped into thinking she was simply a child who told terrible lies to punish her stepfather. Does she not deserve some answers?

Yes, she does.

She has rights accorded to her by the SA Service Charter for Victims of Crime, a canon that was promulgated in 2007 as a ratification of the 1985’s UN Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power. This Charter outlines the rights that victims of crimes are entitled to; foremost amongst those is the requirement that all victims of crimes be treated with utmost fairness and respect.

The Charter also provides for victims like P*** to be kept continuously in the loop regarding all matters related to their cases. Since her molester and rapist, John Harold Kotze, was granted the leave to appeal in 2009, nobody has seen it necessary to contact her with any such details at all. Instead, at least twice, the very same officials empowered by the Charter to safeguard her rights, have in fact overseen her arrest and harassment.

By telling such victims’ stories we may not undo the damages already inflicted on them, but if doing so can make any contribution to sealing the cracks through which the most powerless amongst us are allowed to fall, then surely we must grant them those amplified voices.

This is why we admire Richard Renaldi’s project ‘Touching Strangers’. Or Jeffrey Osborne’s song, ‘If My Brother’s In Trouble’. We should extend a hand and hug that stranger and own their trouble. Some show of love and care won’t hurt us.

Hence we ask again, what is wrong with our society?


uSpiked’s Challenge

Join Project P*** and Set our Women Free

  • TO ALL REGISTRARS of our courts: We call on you to dedicate at least an hour every week going through your systems to help flush out those forgotten cases. unForget and unVault them! They should not be allowed to grow cold.
  • If you know of similar cases in your community, upload them to uSpiked