When a Woman Rapes

The last weekend has been a long weekend dedicated to the commemoration of our 23rd year of political independence. As things go in Namibia, our post-long weekend papers reported on all the vile acts that people of this country commit against each other. This time many children were among the victims of rape and sexual assaults that occurred over the weekend.  While we are desperately trying to fight becoming desensitised and losing our ability to be outraged by the ongoing violence against women and children, we have to acknowledge that a few more rapes are nothing out of the ordinary in Namibia. What is out of the ordinary, however, is that one act of sexual molestation was reported to have been committed by a woman – against a much younger female person.

Only last week I posted something I read on the internet to the extent that while not all men are rapist, all rapist are men. Undoubtedly, the report from the weekend shows that women are also capable or rape and there are women who rape. Statistics show overwhelmingly that rape is most commonly committed by male persons against female persons. However, other forms of rape also occur and this consists of male-male, only very rarely female-male and almost never female-female rape.

Whatever form sexual assault and rape takes, or whatever the statistics of rape, rape and sexual assault are always about the relative power that one person exhorts over another person. As a feminist organisation it is our duty to condemn all forms of violation regardless who the perpetrator or who the victim. If a woman commits an act of sexual assault against another woman, because she has power over that person by virtue of her status/ age/ position relative to the victim, we should have the courage to stand up and speak out against this act just like we would against any other rape manifestation and hate crime.

Just like men who are raped or assaulted by other men too often are not taken seriously, therefore they cannot or do not access services and support, so one can assume that women assaulted by women may be reluctant – for fear of being ridiculed or not believed – to seek help and/or report the assault. It is in the best interest of the victim that reports of women raping other women are take seriously. It is our moral obligation to confront all forms of injustice, abuse and molestation regardless the statistical insignificance thereof.