Press Releases

Is rape not the right metaphor!

Zapiro-rape-cartoon >

People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) denounce the depiction of the Zapiro gang rape cartoon. The cartoon objectifies women’s bodies, disrespects women autonomy and minimises the trauma of rape on women.

The cartoon further brings fun to the act of rape irrespective of the pain that accompanies it. Sadly this happens at the time in our country where we are faced with alarming rape incidents, especially the recent rape incidences in Johannesburg by a white and silver Quantum. The courage of the survivors who spoke out about their experiences caused an outrage, however that outrage was not sustained. The timing of the cartoon is callous and reduces the trauma and experiences of women to a joke. This metaphor perpetuates and normalises rape and increases women’s vulnerability to rape in our county.

Whilst we support and defend the Bill of Rights to Freedom of Speech and Expression, these rights come with the reciprocal obligation to respect equality between men and women. In this light another metaphor should have definitely been chosen to depict the assault that Zuma is alleged to have committed against the state, rather than using a woman who is been raped. Zapiro should be sensitive to issues of rape which are rife. Moreover, holding down a woman manifests the reality of rape in South Africa, as women face gang rape on a daily basis.

The right to bodily autonomy is extremely disrespected in South Africa. Therefore to use a women’s body that is being raped as a metaphor in a country that is in turmoil and with the highest statistic of rape is irresponsible, insensitive and callous.

It is against this background that we demand a retraction of this cartoon, an apology and urge the Daily Maverick use their publication to educate and empower our society to treat women with respect in the light of our Bill of Rights.

For more information please contact:

Nhlanhla Mokwena
Executive Director
011 642 4345
082 785 2116

Jeanette Sera and Itumeleng Moloko
Counselling Managers
011 642 4345
083 280 2334 and 083 959 3762

Annual Reports

POWA Annual report for 2015 April – 2016 March

Executive summary
POWA was formed in 1979 by a group of women volunteers to provide referral services and
shelter to women experiencing domestic violence. Over a period of 30 years, POWA has
continued to provide shelter for abused women and their children, and frontline services,
including counselling and legal services and support.
POWA was the first organisation to establish a shelter for abused women, in 1981. The
organisation also pioneered second-stage (or transitional) housing for women in 2009 in
Gauteng. The direct services delivery component of the organisation forms the basis of and
informs all advocacy interventions – at local, national and regional level. Since 1979 the
organisation has grown from a staff compliment of 18 to 37 staff members and eight volunteers

More.Powa Annual Report APRIL 2015 – MARCH 2016