International studies clearly illustrate that there is no better way of getting rapists off the street, at protecting women and young girls, than DNA and the use of a DNA criminal intelligence database. Whilst South Africa awaits the promulgation of crucial legislation which will give police the ability to immediately start taking sexual offenders off our streets, the worst sexual violence statistics in the world continue to accumulate — except these are not statistics — they are terrified women and children facing horrific acts of violence — many of them too young or uneducated to take the appropriate action to ensure the rapists are held accountable for their actions.
According to the United Nations, South Africa ranks first in the world, per capita, for sexual assault and rape ��� the number of reported rapes is around 200 every day. As many incidences of rape are never reported or investigated, statistics suggest that a woman or child is raped every 18 seconds in South Africa. An equally frightening fact is that 90% of rapists re-offend and may assault more than 30 women and children before finally being held accountable for their actions.
The DNA Project is a non-profit organisation which aims to change that, by lobbying support for the passing of a DNA Bill that will make it mandatory for all arrestees and convicted offenders to have their DNA profile entered onto a database in order to compare it with DNA profiles collected from crime scenes and victims of sexual assault. Hand in hand with this crucial lobbying effort, the organisation is increasing public awareness on the benefits of DNA evidence in the identification and conviction of criminals. As a way of providing information on what a victim can do to bring these offenders to book, The DNA Project, along with Assegai and Javelin and Africa Imagery, have developed the “She Asked For It��� advert. Following on from the 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children, this advert has a simple message …
She NEVER asked to be raped, but she DID ask for DNA to be collected as she was empowered with the knowledge that DNA evidence convicts.
If you have been raped it is important to get to a health care facility as quickly as possible to:
- Obtain medical care, treatment and advice
- Collect evidence to support your legal case
To assist in the collection of DNA evidence, victims of sexual assault should:
- NOT change their clothing
- NOT shower or wash any part of their body
- Report the incident to the police
- Go to a medical doctor within 48 hours for DNA evidence to be collected
Blood, saliva, semen, tissue under the victim’s fingernails or hair that can be found on the victim’s body all carry the unique tell-tale DNA of the rapist.
If someone has had non-consensual sexual or other contact with you, e.g., ejaculates, bites, licks or kisses you, DNA may be left behind. If evidence of someone else’s DNA is found on or in your body it proves they have had contact with you.
Reporting cases of sexual assault and preserving DNA evidence could help put the rapist behind bars and prevent further attacks.