my dress is not a yes – miniskirt wars & rape culture

this violence against women in miniskirts (and not in miniskirst) has been happening at taxi ranks for a long time. in fact, between the last publicised one with Nwabisa Ngukana in 2006 and this recent one, there have probably been more. i (personally) saw one such incident about ten years ago and it was a group of five men in comparison to the two incidents aforementioned. this time, they took pictures of it all.

a number of things make me livid:

  1. this happened last week friday.
  2. it was caught on CCTV – the camera’s that the city has set up to help curb crime on jo’burg streets, yet no law enforcement was dispatched.
  3. there is always a SA Police Service unit at the taxi rank.
  4. the Jo’burg Metro Police did not arrest anyone in the mob but (according to the Sowetan news report) escorted one of the women out and left the other one to endure more sexual harassment. that woman was saved ten minutes later by a shopkeeper “Six minutes later metro police officers arrive to escort her away but the men put up a fight.”
  5. these  men will use ‘culture’ to justify their sicken violence
  6. this type of harassment took place before the eyes of law enforcers so should not wait for a victim to press charges for these hooligans to be locked up.
  7. society (on-lookers, bystanders, citizens, etc) stood by and watched, some were probably amused others were probably distressed. but they stood by and did nothing.
  8. this will happen again
  9. rape culture – all those who witnessed this participated in rape culture. all those that look at this incident and think the solution is for women to NOT WEAR MINISKIRTS are participating in rape culture. all those that only pay this event lip-service, comment only in social media and new sites participate in rape culture.
  10. for the police to do nothing (but escort the women one by one out) are participating in rape culture and failing to act as law enforcers.

it has happened before and will continue to happen – if we keep doing nothing about it.

in 2006, Redi Direko organised a march to the (around) the Noord Taxi Rank. i participated. during the march i remember feeling like it was a waste of my time. i wanted to do more and didn’t know what to do. i still don’t know what to do:

  • boycott the rank: all women (and men who don’t condone this violence) boycott all the taxi’s at that rank. but there’s the ‘small’ issue of people that rely on this particular taxi rank to travel.
  • pressure the police to open a case and charge all of those faces on the CCTV footage – but as evidenced by the Sowetan story and what Nwabisa herself said – “The justice system failed me. I was sent to people who could not help me…”
  • march – again. we could have another mini skirt march even call it a slutwalk. i really question what impact such action has especially when only a handful of us will show up – the rest don’t care, as long it doesn’t happen to them.

the police will (and have) only pay lip-0service to this as will the ministers and premiers and tazi owners associations. but until real agressive action is taken against these hooligans – hit them where it hurts – they will keep doing this.

the world is not a safe place for any woman. we, women, need to take back our streets.

how do we stop this from happening again?

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