Be joyous, go slut yourself

The global series of Slutwalk protests was sparked by the remark of a Canadian policeman that women “should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised”.

There is a predictable and tedious controversy about the name and the motive for the marches, which aim to overturn the perception that women’s sexuality has anything to do with rape. In truth the term could have been coined for South Africa, where it is an article of faith that it is a woman’s fault if she is sexually assaulted—verbally, emotionally or physically. That the length of her skirt, her lipstick, the amount of cleavage showing are cues for attack.

Hundreds took to the streets of Cape Town in South Africa’s first Slutwalk at the weekend, to protest against the idea that to stay safe from rapists, “women should avoid dressing like sluts”.
This is the land of taxi rank assaults on women wearing miniskirts, of women stripped naked for wearing pants, of the corrective rape of lesbians.

It is the land of epidemic sexual violence against women, a grinding, endless war, the victims of which comprise half the population.

So, if there’s anywhere that people need to take to the streets to express their anger at the idea that women are to be blamed for being raped, it is here. When someone is raped the questions on too many lips, including those of judges and law-enforcement officers, are what was she wearing? Why was she walking on the street at night?

Judging by the Facebook chatter there is plenty of support for the local marches, with 50 000 people promising to turn up. We hope that support will extend beyond the social media classes.

 

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