'It's a dress, not a YES!': SlutWalk hits Jo'burg

Hundreds marched through the streets of Rosebank on Saturday as part of the Johannesburg leg of the internationally acclaimed SlutWalk protest march.

Conceptualised in Canada, the overarching theme of SlutWalk is to remove the negative connotations associated with the word “slut” and assert women’s rights to dress how they please without fear of victimisation.

Men and women wore revealing clothing and brandished banners decrying rape and sexual abuse in South Africa.

“Slut, say what?”, “This dress means fun—not FUCK” and “My body is nobody’s but mine” were a few of the messages carried by protesters.

Marching down Jan Smuts Avenue and up through Rosebank from Zoo Lake, protesters shouted slogans in unison: “It’s a dress and not a YES!”,

“Real men don’t rape!” and “I wear what I like” were some of the slogans ringing out as the march progressed.

“Even though I was hungover this morning I made sure I was here. It is so important in South Africa for people to realise that rape is wrong. It’s not about what we wear, we are all people,” a marcher, who preferred to remain anonymous, told the Mail & Guardian.

Organisers said the march was not solely about being able express yourself, but being able to change society’s mindset when it comes to rape and sexual abuse.

“We all believe it is wrong to blame the victim of sexual abuse for what they are wearing.
Women who express their sexuality should be able to do so regardless of what some people say. We should all be able to feel sexy”, said organiser Sam Beckbessinger.

Nickolaus Bauer

Nickolaus Bauer

Nickolaus Bauer is the Mail & Guardian's jack of all trades news reporter that chases down stories ranging from politics and sports to big business and social justice. Armed with an iPad, SLR camera, camcorder and dictaphone, he aims to fight ignorance and pessimism through written words, photographs and videos. He believes South Africa could be the greatest country in the world if only her citizens would give her a chance to flourish instead of dwell on the negativity. When he's not begging his sub-editors for an extra twenty minutes after deadline, he's also known to dabble in the occasional poignant column that will leave you mulling around in the depths of your psyche. The quintessential workaholic, you can also catch him doing sports on the weekday breakfast show on SAfm and presenting the SAfm Sports Special over the weekend. Read more from Nickolaus Bauer

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