(Rape) Culture Shock

“A female born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped in her lifetime than learning how to read.”

Just take a moment and think about that. This is just one of the staggering statistics that I read while doing research. Do you even remember learning how to read? It’s like a rite of passage in the US. Something I take for granted every single day. Even more alarming, The disgustingly low conviction rate of sexual offenders.

South Africa also has the highest population of people living with HIV, and is stricken with poverty. Both of which could play a factor in the high rate of sexual assault and rape. People in the United States know this, at least to some extent, but it’s easy to turn a blind eye across the pond. Out of sight out of mind, right?

I expected to experience culture shock when I got here. No Taco Bell, cars driving on the “wrong” side of the road, accents, things like that. Yesterday I was complaining about how I missed having my car, about how I couldn’t find the kind of food I wanted at the grocery store, and about how I couldn’t stream Netflix, because I have to pay for internet, and it is too expensive.

Reading that statistic stopped me dead in my tracks. It was just what I needed to snap me out of my self absorbed mini drama, and remind me of why I came here: to make a impact, no matter how small it may be.

Today was my third day of work at Rape Crisis, and I already know that it will be a life changing experience. I came here to learn more about nonprofit work and communications, but I can already tell that I am going to take away so much more than that. I’m so eternally grateful that I am able to have this opportunity.

Before I left the US, a few people asked if they could help financially support my trip, as I do not get paid here. I toyed with the idea of starting a GoFundMe page, but it just didn’t feel right to me. I greatly appreciate those offers, and ask you to instead consider donating to the Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust. This is where I am doing my internship. Here, your money will directly help rape survivors. Remember, because of the value of the Rand, just $10 can go a long way. So sacrifice one trip to Taco Bell, in my honor, and donate it to Rape Crisis.



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