Slutwalk, an international movement rapidly gaining momentum worldwide after being started earlier this year to object to the notion that women could avoid sexual assault by not “dressing like a slut”, is coming to South Africa.
The suggestion came from a Toronto police in January, offering a shocking insight into the way that some police force members viewed sexual assault against women. Since then there have since been 70 “SlutWalk” marches worldwide, with two earlier this month in Scotland and Brazil. Others have been held in Mexico, Delhi, London and Melbourne.
Women dressed in schoolgirl mini skirts and teetering heels take to the streets to make a unified statement about sexual assault and victims’ rights, and to demand respect for all.
Actress, designer and sexual assault survivor Sandi Schultz is the driving force behind the upcoming SlutWalk Johannesburg, with dates for the Joburg and Cape Town events still to be finalised.
Schultz was abused as a young child, and said that when she read about the SlutWalks in Toronto and the rest of the world, “it resonated”.
“I know from experience that rape and sexual assault have nothing to do with what you are wearing, or what you are doing,” she said, adding that rape was not about sex.
“Rape is about violence; how someone is dressed is not an invitation to assault them.”
The aim of the movement is to empower women to realise that no matter their actions or attire, they have the right not to be sexually assaulted – and if they are, they are not to blame.
SlutWalk Cape Town and Johannesburg are joining forces to try to synchronise dates for the local protest, in a bid to make as big an impact in South Africa as possible.
For support and updates, follow on Twitter@slutwalkjhb or @slutwalkct.