TODAY was a difficult morning. I was dropping off our daughter to a study, on my way to work. As is the custom I had the car radio tuned to BBC news.

Tracy Chapman: “Why is a woman still not safe When she’s in her home?” she sang.

First, it was Syria. There, the news said, rape had been used as a weapon by both the Syrian government troops and the armed rebel groups.

The story quoted a rights group that reported that over 6,000 women had been raped in the recent months of the conflict there.Then it was on to the Central African Republic (CAR), that long-suffering land that is descending into hell. An epidemic of rape had broken out there as the international community warned that the conflict between Muslim and Christian Muslims risked ending in “genocide”.

We drove in silence. I tried to imagine what was going on in our girl’s mind as 

she listened to the bulletin, and the vulnerability she felt as a woman. I didn’t look at her; afraid I would say something that sounded too contrived just to reassure her.

You can make your home safe for your daughters, sons, sisters, wife or girlfriend (though sometimes, as Tracy Chapman sang, even home is not safe for them), but when they step out of the door…

Few subjects make me feel dirty, helpless, angry, and afflict me with bouts of loathing, distress and guilt like sexual violence. Rape has become a demon stain on MALE-dom. Why is it that rapists are like the monsters in the movies? They don’t seem to die off, or to go away.  


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