Have you ever walked down the street and had a man touch you, or grope you without your permission? Have you had someone you don’t know from a bar of soap call you baby, or sweety? Nothing irritates me more than a guy who deliberately walks straight towards you then brushes your breast and when you turn around he has a stupid grin on his face as though he just won some sort of prize.
When I was in high school there were times I hated going to the shop to buy bread because it would be impossible for me to get there without some guy making gestures or jeering at me. What gets to me most is the guys who get upset when you don’t respond to their advances, usually responding with “voetsek ebile o skobo ne re go direla favour jou moer.” Translated: “voetsek! We were doing you a favour, you’re ugly.” This sort of behaviour causes me to believe that certain men feel entitled to women’s bodies. Men who feel as though women were created purely for their pleasure and to be possessed by them.
Before 2012 was even a week old we were discussing an incident where two girls were harrassed for wearing short skirts at the Noord Taxi Rank in Johannesburg. Before this happened I would have assumed that South Africa was evolving. That men realised that the way a woman decided to conduct herself, or what a woman decides to wear is up to her, but it seems we are still struggling with backward men who believe they have rights to a woman’s body whether she likes it or not. Many people made comments like: “she should have known better, its Noord.” I have never been there but I assume short skirts are clearly not welcome. Be that as it may, do we shift the blame and say it’s her own fault men can’t control themselves when they see a woman’s thigh? That, in my opinion, reflects a very weak personality and dare I say it is indicative of a lag in development of the mind. Honestly, something really has to be wrong with you if every woman you see is translated to “sex on legs” in your mind. Grow up!
I do not understand where this notion that women dress to antagonise men stems from but, I do know that until that mindset subsides we will never be free of things like sexual assault and rape. Until men realise that a woman’s body is hers, for her to express in whichever way she pleases, there will be no change.
There are protests held every year, days of activism against abuse etc but we tend to focus on fixing things at their extreme stage. You can’t treat full blown AIDS, that’s what anti-retro virals are for. So when women are sexually assaulted at a taxi rank, the Women’s league can frown upon it all they want but it’s the behavioural symptoms that need to be addressed.
And why is it the Women’s league telling MEN to stop it? Men with that sort of mindset are not about to listen to a woman. Never.
It hurts me that in 2012 I should be writing about this, but it seems the more we evolve the less we grow.