Last week I wrote about a close friend who was abducted at gun-point by three men, raped, and dumped on the sidewalk. The incident took place about three weeks ago. Last week her cousin, whom she hadn’t seen in a few years, heard about what happened and came to visit her. The cousin arrives, great, but the cousin is wearing a jacket that looks identical to the one the rapists had taken from my friend. Not terribly unusual, they could have bought it from the same place. More disturbingly, the cousin is also carrying a purse that looks identical to the one my friend was robbed of on that same fateful day. When my friend asked where the cousin got the bag and the jacket from, the cousin explained that she got it from her boyfriend. Long story short, and from what the police pieced together, it is quite obvious that the boyfriend is one of the three men that raped my friend. So I’m left to ask: “What the hell is wrong with South African men?” If it’s not the Waterkloof 4, or a demented learner playing a deadly game of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at school with swords and killing another student in the process, then it’s the unacceptably high incidents of violence, barbarity, intimate femicide, rape – the list is far too long. If there was a gold medal for miscreant behaviour in the Olympics, our men would unfortunately come up tops. Culture? Schlumture! A few months ago I watched Thuli Nhlapo’s frustrating documentary on a Thursday night on SABC 1, where apparently as part of an initiation ceremony in Mpumalanga, a gang rape not only took place, but was sanctioned by the people running the school. It was frustrating because it was primarily in isiNdebele, a language I don’t speak nor understand much of, and there were no subtitles. But from the little that I gathered, I had to ask myself – has violence become so much a part of our “culture” as to be acceptable? If this is our culture, then culture can kiss my black ass. But I think it’s less about culture than about a quiet acceptance. South Africa is socially and religiously actually quite a conservative culture, but this conservatism seems to only work in our minds and hearts, and not in our actions. We absolutely know the difference between wrong and right, but that information is conspicuously absent when it comes to our actions. An undereducated police force and an undereducated populous, an ineffective government, the widening economic discrepancies between the classes, as well as serious break down in our moral fibre are just some of the factors contributing to our situation, and I’m scared to death because there is no solution nor plan in sight Do you really know your man? My friend’s cousin is now faced with a scary future where she has told on her live-in lover and the father of her unborn child. If this case is to stick, she will most probably have to testify in court, assuming that a trial will take place and that the docket won’t find its way out of the police station through the back door. So I ask, how well do you know your man? Who was he before he met you? Does he have a criminal record, and if so, for what? The lesson here for South African women is to very careful, as trust is not enough. We all have some skeletons in our closets, but can you deal with a man who has a whole cemetery? Our instincts usually give us hints, and it’s important to follow that funny feeling that some people or their actions may elicit from you. And if you’re not sure, it will be well worth it to hire a private investigator to make sure your man is not going to turn you into another statistic. Kgomotso Matsunyane is a writer, producer and partner at T.O.M. Pictures, an award-winning TV and film production company in Jo’burg. She absolutely loves South African men. Image source: iStockphoto