A few months ago an 11-year-old girl was gang raped by a group of 18 teenage boys and men. The New York Times reported this story by mentioning the following in the article:
• “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives.”
• “How could their young men have been drawn into such an act?”
• “She dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s.”
• “She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground”
Clearly, the sympathy in this news article is with the rapists.
Really? A group of men ranging from 15 to 27 years-old – quite a few of them with criminal records – gang raped, threatened and filmed the sex acts performed on an 11-year-old girl. But the reporting of the incident hints that it was somehow her fault? They also lament the fact that the future of these “boys” will now be ruined.
If a child is to be blamed for her rapists’ actions, no wonder grown women are often seen as carrying responsibility for rape.
Victims are sluts
When a policeman told a group of young women in Toronto, Canada that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised”, it was as if centuries of righteous anger finally bubbled over.
Women took to the streets protesting the victim-blaming culture, the idea that “sluts” get raped and that they’re asking for it.
Women with “I’m with slut” t-shirts bearing placards like “Victims have been through enough” and “Liking sex doesn’t mean I want to be raped”, marched against the despicable culture of excusing the rapist and blaming the victim. This is the same culture that shames women instead of rapists. The culture that robs women of their sexuality and femininity and lets the men who rape and humiliate get away with it.
Slutwalk marches are now held in major cities across the globe. Sadly I don’t see it taking South Africa by storm. With our rape epidemic and the horror of “corrective” rape on the rise, I can’t see a Slutwalk making much of a difference. We need government, schools, churches, police, lawyers, press and most importantly men, those who don’t rape, to come to the party.
I wonder what it will take for this to happen.
If the Slutwalk comes to South Africa will you join?