There are rumours here in Soweto, that in many cases, the family of the alleged rapist go the victim’s family and offer them money so that they do not lay charges, and if charges have already been laid, to withdraw them and settle out of court. Now, because a lot of people are poor due to unemployment, particularly young people, families of victims often accept the money, since they need it and they are told that maybe the alleged rapist is the bread winner or a provider to the family therefore if he is prosecuted they (the alleged rapist family) will not be able to survive.
It seems like in the African community immorality is accepted in the name of monetary compensation, not considering the emotional scars the victim has to live with and the possibility of unwanted pregnancy or the scourge of spreading HIV/AIDS. To date although a lot of awareness campaigns have been carried out, this has not yet resulted in any meaningful psychological or behavioural change.
If this these rumours about payments to the victims families are true, which is probable, this could suggest that the number of of rape cases are higher than those that are being recorded. At the moment, South Africa is busy commemorating the 16 days of activism against women and children abuse, and it seems that during these 16 days more sexual crimes are reported to the local Police Services and more victims are being taken for help and empowerment to the support centers. This indicates, that in Soweto, the camapign does seem to raise awareness, but we definitely also need an awareness programme that goes beyond the 16 days.