Following this week's coverage of corrective rape in South Africa, I can't help but ask why it has taken the world's media so long to catch on?
South Africa features some of the highest numbers of rape in the world and a survey over 2 years ago showed that one in four men freely admit raping at least one woman.
It is also true that the cautionary rule that requires judges to ere on the side of caution when trying a rapist was only abolished in 2007, while the distribution of HIV treatment is still conditional on the victim reporting her attack.
So I ask again. Why has it taken so long for the world's media to pick up on this?
The progress that this country has achieved in a short time is clearly commendable. They managed a smooth transition from apartheid to democracy with a relative lack of violence. They established a rule of law, democratic elections, a bill of rights, and signed an unprecedented 70 international treaties and agreements in just six years.
From a western perspective South Africa is a shining example of what a successful democracy can look like in a continent fraught with poverty and corruption.
But, it takes more than a lick of paint to cover what are deeply embedded cultural attitudes towards women.
Rape in many areas of society is not treated with the gravitas it deserves. It is considered a normal thing, the result of the natural balance of power between men and women. But by associating rape with an everyday occurrence, the stigma of violence is taken away from it.
Excuses such as 'she was dressed like a slut', or 'she was asking for it' are all too common. Never mind the mind-boggling idea that rape will turn a lesbian straight, or show her what she is missing.
Technically, rape and sexual assault are outlawed by law. Women's rights are enshrined in the constitution but evidence shows that enforcement and the implementation of these rights on the ground is shoddy at best.
A 2010 inspection of 430 police stations across the country showed that many were failing to reach fulfil their legal obligations towards women with regard to domestic violence, and a worrying number of police were accused to ignoring, and turning complainants away.
To some, women's issues are not political. They are seen as private issues, to be dealt with at home. This reduces their importance, reduces the impact that rape can have on a woman. It ignores the fact that rape is not about sex, it is about power and the complete elimination of a human's right to possess her own sexuality.
Power is the key to reform, both in society and institutionally. Female South African politician Frene Ginwala said, "Politics is about power and women's liberation is about power. Until we empower women organisationally, we cannot empower ourselves."
This is what women in South Africa are starting to do. Following the rape of several young girls in Johannesburg due to their 'disrespectful clothing' a few years ago, local charities encouraged women to protest. Hoards took to the streets, with placards declaring female independence and in doing so they highlighted the lack of action from the local government and police. The protest forced the government to condemn the action effectively transforming the issue into a political one in the eyes of the public.
Another example is Luleke Sizwe, an organisation fighting against corrective rape, who started an online petition for a change in policy towards the issue. They gained 170,000 signatures in just four months, and are now in discussions with the Justice minister to have law changed so that corrective rape is treated as a hate crime, and therefore punishable by the harshest sentences. They worked with a few volunteers and little media coverage. Without the internet, their cause would have been ignored. These causes are clearly under-reported.
South Africa is a country in progress. Rather than only covering these issues when an alarming survey is published or a foreign national is involved, I would rather that its inspiring people received the publicity they deserve and so desperately need.