SlutWalk Hits South Africa, Where Rape Is National Crisis
By SCHALK VAN ZUYDAM 08/20/11 09:17 AM ET
CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Women draped sexy lingerie over their street clothes as they marched through Cape Town on Saturday, bringing an international campaign against the notion that a woman’s appearance can excuse attacks to a country where rape is seen as a national crisis.
Some 2,000 protesters walked a route where fans partied during last year’s football World Cup. Men joined in, some of them wearing miniskirts in solidarity. Some protesters pushed their children in strollers and carried signs declaring, “Rapists rape people, not outfits,” and “Weak men rape.”
“SlutWalks” originated in Toronto, Canada, where they were sparked by a police officer’s remark that women could avoid being raped by not dressing like “sluts.”
“It’s very important that women should understand that their dignity should not be taken away from them,” said Tayla Orgill, who was among the Cape Town walkers.
According to the most recent police statistics, more than 55,000 cases of rape and indecent assault were reported in South Africa from 2009 to 2010. The number of sexual offenses against women climbed nearly 20 percent from the previous year, according to police.