Where are the moms of all the rapists?

February 12, 2013

Dear Max

The past week has been a tragic one in South Africa. We’ve heard staggering rape statistics, and unbearable stories of rape, mutilation and murder.

It has got us shocked, scared, calling for change, and clutching our children tighter.

A mom of one of the victims has spoken out, and hearing her sorrow was devastating and reminded us that we can’t always keep our kids safe and protected.

And while thinking about this blog post, I thought about the moms of the perpetrators – the rapists. Where are they? Are they grieving too? Are they alive? Are they present in their sons’ lives? At what point did their sons lose their way, and did they even know it? Did society and circumstances veer their sons off a good path, or did these things “just happen”? I think about their pain and their disappointment, or even worse, their apathy and ignorance.

As terrified I am of something terrible happening to you one day, I fear too that you’ll be a bully, criminal or aggressor. Just because you are white, Jewish and “privileged” with an education, loving parents and even an iPad, doesn’t mean that you’ll respect women one day. “Real” men do hurt, abuse and rape.

I fear that i will fail in steering you on a confident and righteous path, or that even if I do, something will happen and you’ll lose your way. Before you were born, my biggest worry was not what to pack in my hospital bag, or what birth to have, or what colour to paint your nursery. It was that I was responsible for raising a good person to be let out into the world, someone who would heal or humour, rather than hurt.

I hope we can do it. I hope you turn out okay.





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