19 April 201804-20
Statement in response to recent statement by Mr Danny Jordaan's legal mouthpiece.
I would like to state that, as a survivor of rape, I have consistently, personally and in often painful transparency, come forth taking full responsibility for my truth. I have, as in the case of most survivors, taken the full brunt of scrutiny and questioning of motive as is typical in a patriarchal society. This inquisition escalates and intensifies once one musters the courage to lay a charge of rape against the offender.
Mr Jordaan has not once, in his personal capacity, found the courage to come forward and take responsibility for his side of the story. He has chosen instead to hide behind a wall of highly paid lawyers, whose only motives are providing lucrative protection of his interests. From the barricade of legalese, the worst of this ‘silk’ will resort to all-too typical tactics of character-defamation and even ‘slut-shaming’.
This is the familiar and precarious terrain all survivors of rape enter once they make a public disclosure of rape. They are rendered even more exposed and vulnerable once they enter the financially and emotionally draining field of the criminal process.
I have taken the decision to lay a charge of rape against Mr. Jordaan after numerous months of extensive and exhausting consultation not only with legal experts but with NGO’s working in the field of especially gender-based violence. I have spent many hours listening to the stories of other survivors of rape. The decision to publicly disclose the rape that happened 24 years ago on the global tidal wave of the #metoo has not been taken carelessly. It has been motivated by my life-long commitment to healing, not only through Truth-Speak for myself, but also in relation to the community I am part of. Speaking the truth after so many years of silence and shame has empowered other survivors of sexual violence to come forward so that we can more powerfully challenge the forms of patriarchy that endorse and protect this kind of sexually aberrant behaviour. Sexual misconduct has reached epidemic proportions throughout our society, emanating from men in positions of top leadership and steadily seeping down to the most shocking forms of domestic abuse and violence. Our society bears the even more terrible shame of baby and child rape.
This cannot be accepted as a norm any longer.
These facts have informed my decision. These are my ‘ulterior motives.’
Some of us are called forth, often through traumatic circumstance or simply acts of conscience, to take up this fight. The struggle is always at great personal cost. This is what I have chosen to do, despite the distress and demand on me and those closest to me. In this choice, I am comforted knowing I am but part of a long and extraordinary tradition of the many activists who have risen, who continue to rise and shall again and again rise to challenge injustice in all its forms, especially the patriarchal. The road toward social justice has been a familiar one throughout my life. I will walk it as long as I am able.
I have publicly, subsequent to laying the formal charge of rape, communicated my empathy for Mr. Jordan’s family who, like mine, are made to share the burden of this journey. As I explained in my previous motivation, the option for a Restorative Justice process has been available to Mr. Jordaan over the last six months. Mr Jordaan dismissed my offer with contempt. That window is now closed.
I would have expected that my difficult and considered decision to enter the legal process be met with acknowledgement and respect from his side, as it is consistent with their initial challenge for me to take the accusation of rape to the courts. I would not expect after these last six months to expediently be accused of ‘deeply suspect motives.’ This assertion indicates a form of legal and communicative amnesia.
Mr. Jordaan’s legal barricade’s insulting response to the gravity of my decision, gives a foretaste of the all-too typical character-defamation tactics adopted by some lawyers in what is a morally-questionable defence of their client’s sexual misconduct.