RAPE is the problem, not our clothes!

On Saturday 2 000 people came together and staged a SlutWalk in Cape Town.

I only found out about it on Thursday,so I was a bit of a Jane-come-lately to the idea.

The more I find out about this campaign/project the more I like it.   I have spent a small portion of my night googling and stalking a few people on Facebook.

I was really sad that I had not known about it earlier.  At the very least I could tell the two people who read my blog about it.

They in turn could have worn their underwear and we could have hooked up.  It would have been awesome.

The original Slutwalk organiser saw it as a movement against “victim-blaming” and it originated after a police officer in Canada told a group of women that they should stop “dressing like sluts” to avoid getting raped.

These parades/demonstrations/walks are about sending a powerful message.

That women are judged as the cause of the crime IF RAPED BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY WORE.

I seldom use this phrase.  But I think I have been saving it for a special occassion.  How fked up is that shit?

I will confess to being one of the ignorant masses. When I see a scantily clad female, the little voice in my head goes: “Yep, she is asking for it!” I am a girl and that is the first message that pops in to my head.

How did I get programmed to think that if a girl or a woman chooses an article of clothing from her wardrobe, and she gets raped, then it is her fault?

How shocking is my mental “default stance?” 

I dress my children conservatively so they “do not become targets of rape or p.aed.ophil.es.”

I raise my eyebrow when I see a young girl dressed in such a way that she looks sexually appealing. Because my internal message goes “she is asking for it!”

Who gets to decide what provocative is?  Who gets to decide the line between “the right dress” and “the wrong dress?”  Who gets to be the clothing police?  And who gets to measure the “range” for what is acceptable?

What if it is Riaan Cruywagen and Patricia Lewis and they become the committe who decides?

I think this concept speaks volumes about the society we are in.

I really hope that this walk takes place next year.

As mothers and women who read this blog, you will consider taking part, and dragging your children along with you.

<Then you have to sit and start the entire conversation about what a slut is, and that alone must be a mine-field, but you have a year to work that skillfully into conversation. I am also not sure how that is going to go down when the pre-school teacher asks Johnny if he did anything interesting this weekend.>

These are some amazing images from the walk taken by the über talented Tarjei Langeland. 

If you are interested in finding out more about this insanely brilliant movement, join them on Facebook.

Excellent article here on the SlutWalk and why you should do it (or should’ve done it, in my case)

Leave a comment


  1. Ladies (and gents) please take a moment to read this amazing article by Gillian Schutte – Semantics of the Slut Walk – http://sacsis.org.za/site/article/734.1

  2. Loretta

     /  August 24, 2011

    I was appalled by one of our Ministers who tweeted that he wanted to attend because ‘maybe he will get lucky’. With leaders like that its no wonder SA is one of the leading countries in terms of rape stats

    • reluctantmom

       /  August 24, 2011

      Total FAIL TWEET that one. Yes, I saw the publicity around it.

  3. I’ve been following the massive twitter and blog debate about the Slutwalk. It has become a debate (perhaps intellectual) over the name of the walk and whether you support the principle behind it if you don’t support the walk. It has sparked discussions (awesome)…and arguments. And sadly many of the arguments have been anything but constructive. I worry that the cause got lost in the name 😦

    • reluctantmom

       /  August 24, 2011

      I must confess to not reading too much about the debate. My friend and I were however talking and we chatted about how “correct” the term “slut” was as to being appropriate and is it something you want to take your kids to, and is it something a family radio show wanted to publicise between 7 – 7 say when kids were listening.
      Granted it is not the most “pleasant” term and I for one might have argued against it had I sat around a “marketing” table deciding which moniker was most appropriate.
      However the word has an instant reaction.
      Publicising a “slut walk” has an instant reaction – as opposed to “A Walk to Protest Against Rape” for instance.
      But yes, I do think the term might over shadow the great work it does, as well as the fact that it forces us to have conversations that I feel are a bit uncomfortable.

  4. Lara

     /  August 24, 2011

    Rape is a crime of power, not of passion. Even women who dress conservatively get raped.

    The Johannesburg Slutwalk: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Slutwalk-Johannesburg/147836015284588?sk=info

  5. Sharon

     /  August 24, 2011

    Damn! I saw some mutterings about this on Twitter and was wondering what it was about. On further research, it seems it happened in Johannesburg as well and I missed it! But if there’s another one, count me in!

  6. Colleen

     /  August 24, 2011

    I havent seen it, what channel is it on?

  7. Colleen

     /  August 24, 2011

    There was actually a slut walk before – not triggered by the canadian cop – up here in JHB. Redi Hlabi (sp) of 702 led a slut walk through a major taxi rank after a woman was stripped naked by a group of Taxi drivers and marched through the rank for wearing a mini skirt. She was abused for wearing a skirt! This was about 2 years ago.

    I have been listening a lot to the debates about women asking for it etc and people saying we need to reclaim the word slut.

    1) NO person of ANY age, gender, religion or race is asking to be raped. As the one sign showed so eloquently 🙂 Unless I say “oh baby please… ” I am not asking for it!

    2) You cannot reclaim a word that was never ours, never held a possitive conotation or belonged to Women in a possitive way. I rather think that we need to recondition ourselves and educate our children about the harm of words like that and the mindsets surrounding it.

    3) Yes we live in a Patriarchal society but it is the responsibility of each and every person to show one another respet. Children learn from example not from speaches.

    How are we going to teach our children a healthy respect for sex, self expression and for one another? My boy is 1 and I am already worrying about it… I already have the awkward conversations, in my head, with him as a teenage boy. And with my imaginary daughter. Yes, I probably need to see someone about this 🙂 But really, how in this day and age of such over exposure to EVERYTHING are we going to guide our kids so they grow up to be sexually healthy individuals?

    Sorry for the essay 🙂 It is just such a contentious issue for so many people.

    • I like the expression you used: “sexualy healthy”.

      Have you watched the movie on DSTV at the moment called: “The Stoning of Soraya M”? Another example of one man leading other men into a “shit storm” of abuse.

  8. I believe South Africans are complacent as a nation. We accept very easily and put a lot of things in the Acceptance Drawer.

    E. g. we are experiencing a lot of trash burning and marches in our little dorpies in the Eastern Cape. These people are messing up our towns, causing delays in traffic, just hell raising. We all accept it and don’t report it to the police for public vandalism because these people have a right to higher wages etc!

    The police do absolutely nothing about it. And we then get ruled by lawlessness. My point on this whole “Raped because of the clothes we wear” is to reiterate how accepting and influenced we are of our society norms in South Africa. We accept it, instead of taking the bull by the balls and putting a stop to this lawlessness and jaded view we have become accustomed too. Smooth, proffessional well run operations do exist in South Africa…..look at the Gautrein. We just need to set some VERY FIRM BOUNDARIES!

    Okay I’ll get off my very HIGH horse now.

    • Scared & Imperfect Mother

       /  August 24, 2011

      I’m clapping hands and so with you on this one… Stay on your horse because you are making sense….

      Just a note… The Gautrain is not smooth running as it did not operate for 2 days last week because of cable theft.

  9. Scared & Imperfect Mother

     /  August 24, 2011

    OMG RM how could you miss this? I mean seriously – being one of the two people who actually read your blog – I would have so been up for this. Besides the fact that it is for a great cause, I would love dressing like a slut and walking around with a poster… Joining them on facebook now…

    • reluctantmom

       /  August 24, 2011

      I know, I was equally as shattered I missed it. I probably would have dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, but I would have made a rocking sign!!

      • Scared & Imperfect Mother

         /  August 24, 2011

        I would completely SLUT out!!! How often do you get to dress slutty after having children/becoming an adult/ a example all those boring things.

  10. tan32

     /  August 24, 2011

    I was sad it was in Cape Town beause I would have loved to go.

  1. Jozi SlutWalk – if you are in JHB please put it in your diary NOW « The Reluctant Mom's Blog
  2. RAPE is the problem, not our clothes! (via The Reluctant Mom’s Blog) « Scaredmom's Blog

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