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Rebel Women in States of Emergency: South Africa and Peru
Unformatted Document Text:  10 Lisa Sharlach APSA 2004 South African security forces were not the only political actors who raped as a tactic of terror or torture. Rape was a feature of the Durban riots, ethnically-motivated violence between blacks and Asian Indians in the city of Durban that erupted in 1949, continued through the next decade, and has not entirely disappeared. Goonam Naidoo, a female Indian physician, received calls to treat the Indian girls who had been raped in the conflict. She remembers: "Young girls. Little, little children who were raped. Indian girls. And a couple of months later they came to me for abortions but I couldn’t do it because of the damned laws here" [cited in Romero 1998, 199]. Moreover, I was surprised to learn during my field research in South Africa that members of the armed wing of the apartheid-era ANC, the MK (Umkhonto we Sizwe, or Spear of the Nation), themselves perpetrated rape (TRC 1998). Rape was not an official policy of the ANC. In the 1980s, the ANC National Executive Committee issued a decision outlawing violence against women (Mavini 1989, 100). Regardless, many of the victims of rape by ANC members were other ANC members in exile (outside South Africa for political reasons). Ms. Mosikare of the Khulumani Victim Support Group describes rape by ANC comrades in exile as commonplace: And now, when I talk to men who come from exile, they tell me, ’I would never, ever, in my life, even if I had a lot of money, marry a woman who was in exile. I would never.’ And I would ask them, ’Why are you saying so?’ . . . .[They say,] .’You have 10,000 men, and you have about fifty women. So now, what do you expect. We can’t just sit and look at the women. We were sent to go and carry out missions. We used to stay in the veld [bush] for about a week. Here is a woman next to you. Nobody can say anything if I want to sleep with a woman, I just sleep with the woman. And the woman, there is nothing that she can do, because she is the only one among twenty men. So we do it at gunpoint. Any time we want it.’ [I ask if she thinks that the superiors knew about it]. Yes, they knew. Especially the ANC. But they don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want to. (Interview of October 26,-1998). The pattern of rape described above does not appear to have been politically motivated. However, the testimony given at the women’s hearings of the Truth and

Authors: Sharlach, Lisa.
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10
Lisa Sharlach
APSA 2004
South African security forces were not the only political actors who raped as a
tactic of terror or torture. Rape was a feature of the Durban riots, ethnically-motivated
violence between blacks and Asian Indians in the city of Durban that erupted in 1949,
continued through the next decade, and has not entirely disappeared. Goonam Naidoo, a
female Indian physician, received calls to treat the Indian girls who had been raped in the
conflict. She remembers: "Young girls. Little, little children who were raped. Indian
girls. And a couple of months later they came to me for abortions but I couldn’t do it
because of the damned laws here" [cited in Romero 1998, 199].
Moreover, I was surprised to learn during my field research in South Africa that
members of the armed wing of the apartheid-era ANC, the MK (Umkhonto we Sizwe, or
Spear of the Nation), themselves perpetrated rape (TRC 1998). Rape was not an official
policy of the ANC. In the 1980s, the ANC National Executive Committee issued a
decision outlawing violence against women (Mavini 1989, 100). Regardless, many of the
victims of rape by ANC members were other ANC members in exile (outside South
Africa for political reasons). Ms. Mosikare of the Khulumani Victim Support Group
describes rape by ANC comrades in exile as commonplace:
And now, when I talk to men who come from exile, they tell me, ’I would
never, ever, in my life, even if I had a lot of money, marry a woman who
was in exile. I would never.’ And I would ask them, ’Why are you saying
so?’ . . . .[They say,] .’You have 10,000 men, and you have about fifty
women. So now, what do you expect. We can’t just sit and look at the
women. We were sent to go and carry out missions. We used to stay in
the veld [bush] for about a week. Here is a woman next to you. Nobody
can say anything if I want to sleep with a woman, I just sleep with the
woman. And the woman, there is nothing that she can do, because she is
the only one among twenty men. So we do it at gunpoint. Any time we
want it.’
[I ask if she thinks that the superiors knew about it].
Yes, they knew. Especially the ANC. But they don’t want to talk about it.
They don’t want to. (Interview of October 26,-1998).
The pattern of rape described above does not appear to have been politically
motivated. However, the testimony given at the women’s hearings of the Truth and


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