Friday, November 12, 2010

Bloem is furious, ‘woedend’!

 [I know this a somewhat delayed but anyhow, here-goes a summary...]

The story: A 35-year old female doctor (currently specialising in paediatrics) was raped while on a weekend call at Pelonomi State Hospital in Bloemfontein on Saturday (6th Nov 2a.m.). According to news sources she was attacked with a brick by three men, on a staircase; and was subsequently raped. All attackers where arrested 3hours after the incident and were expected to appear in court on Tuesday (9th Nov). Read the full story here and here.

The medical students of the University of the Free State, with a strong desire to express their resentment and support for the victim, decided to go to court on Tuesday morning in a form of ‘dumb protest’. Approximately, 100 Kovsie medical students (*do you think we were more?*) gathered outside the court in the hope that their ‘passive movement’ will ‘speak louder than words’. The main intention was to show support for the doctor and at the same time silently protesting against abuse/crime. One of the students on encouraging others to join: “...if it’s what we do that defines us, then, let’s make our presence felt by this support movement”.

The entrance of the court gradually became crowded with the different organisations/representatives that came to show support.

The nursing staff came out strongly with their mini-protest; ‘toi-toi – ing’ with placards. Their energetic shouting of ‘Amandla’ and ‘Awethu’ in response still resounds in our ears. (‘Amandla’ = power, ‘Awethu’ = will be ours / belongs to us). Some nurses encouraged medical students to join in their protest - “Let your voices be heard” said one nurse; but the students were firm on silent support only. The nurses handed over a memorandum requesting ‘NO BAIL’ for the criminals.

Amongst other representatives were:

  • ·         “Bikers against abuse”
  • ·          South African Medical Association (SAMA)
  • ·         African National Congress (the current ruling political party), Women’s league


General feelings of students:

  •              Combination of shock, disgust, pity and fear.
  • ·         Students fear a similar heinous crime recurring and expect the officials to make changes that would ensure a safe working environment. (It is unfortunate that incidents like these have to occur before safety is evaluated).
  • ·         Safety at the Pelonomi Hospital was further questioned when a random man was found sleeping in doctor’s quarters. This occurred after the rape incident – something must be done!

My thoughts:
In addition to the above mentioned opinions and concerns; I think South Africa needs to review its punishment for serious crimes. Perhaps harsh punishment would deter future would-be criminals?

*can you spot me in any of the pictures?* :P

What are your thoughts?


MuslimFirst said...

Just a quick comment/thought from me - being in the medical field and seeing this happen to a doctor, to a pediatrician (it somewhat hits home, as a beloved member of my family is one as well) - I find this disturbing, distressing, shocking and very unfortunate to say the least.

Yes, I would hope that in SA, more is done to prevent such tragic things from happening (not a good result in the short term, with that man in the doctors' quarters!) . . . I'm just very sorry to hear this.

Um, no I can't find you anywhere in the pictures ;-) *Disappointed*

Sabeehah said...

Slmz. Yes this news was really disturbing and frightening:(
I remember a similar incident happened in Joburg a few years ago and I think it's sad that nothing was really done to improve the safety of health care professionals in SA.

Just a personal note: last week during a call I left the ward at around 3am to go back to casualty, and while walking in the deserted corridors, I remembered this incident. I was just busy thinking about what I would do if attacked, when I heard the rustle of someone's clothes somewhere behind me. I turned around immediately and was preparing to RUN when luckily I saw it was just one of the ICU nurses making her way to a vending machine. We both started laughing because I think she saw how frightened I looked when I turned around and she was like "don't you read the newspapers? it's not safe to walk on your own!"

I definately will try to avoid walking alone in the hospital at night but sometimes it's just not possible/practical to have someone accompany you! The hospital does provide a service where you can request a security guard to accompany you at night - the thing is I'll be terrified of walking alone with the guy! I mean how can I trust him!

May Allah keep us all safe, Ameen

Sabeehah said...

Oh 4got 2mention I managed 2 spot a pink scarf in d crowd, in one of d las few pic's :) Haha knew u wudn put up ur photo!