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Slut-shame walk

2021-04-09  Staff Reporter

Slut-shame walk
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This Saturday marks another milestone for the activists and allies of women empowerment in Namibia. The Slut-shame walk is taking place. For time and time now, this has been a turning point for Namibian women to be able to have space for a day to celebrate who they are as well as be part of a movement that seeks and stands to empower women and stop rape culture, victim-blaming and slut-shaming of sexual assault victims. 

For those who do not know what the Slut-shame Walk is, it is a transnational movement calling for an end to these things that perpetuate patriarchy, toxic masculinity and cat-calling towards women. Specifically, participants protest against explaining or excusing rape by referring to any aspect of a woman’s appearance. 

The rallies began on 3 April 2011, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, after a Toronto Police officer suggested that “women should avoid dressing like sluts” as a precaution against sexual assault. Subsequent rallies have occurred globally and Namibia has not been an exception to date. The protest takes the form of a march, mainly by young women, where some dress as “sluts” in revealing, sexy attire such as short skirts, stockings and scanty tops.  In the various SlutWalks around the world, there are usually speaker meetings and workshops, live music, sign-making sessions, leafleting, open microphones, chanting, dances, martial arts, and receptions or after-parties with refreshments. In many of the rallies and online, women speak publicly for the first time about their identity as rape survivors. 

This Saturday, the 10th of April, Namibian women and those who stand with them will take to the streets and march against the perpetrators. For so long, women have been fighting patriarchy and toxic masculinity in the same manner; through writing and we all know, not everyone has access to writing. 

To add to that, there are not enough women in the world to sit a man down and explain to him what he is doing that is perpetuating patriarchy and endangering a woman, thus, women took the alternative of protests. As women, we protest because we are tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result. 

Being in charge of our sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an expectation of violence, regardless if we participate in sex for pleasure or work. No one should equate enjoying sex with attracting sexual assault. By focusing on reclaiming and owning their sexuality, identity as well as our freedom, often related to and slut-shaming (that is, negatively labelling a person, primarily a woman, who is viewed as sexually active), and not simply on having an apology from the police or any other person that has slut-shamed us. 

We want Police services to truly get behind the idea that victim-blaming, slut-shaming, and sexual profiling are never acceptable. The idea that a slut is a lesser person and deserving of sexual assault isn’t exclusive to the police. 

Starting at the Ausspannplatz circle at 08:30 am, running through Independence Avenue, this protest will be full of women carrying posters that each have a story to tell. It will be full of allies that will engage the community on why reclaiming this identity from them is of paramount importance, all while dressed like a slut. For those who would like to join us, see you there. The less you are dressed, the better. 

 • Frieda Mukufa’s lifestyle section concentrates on women-related issues and parenting every Friday in the New Era newspaper. She also specialises in editing research proposals, proofreading as well as content creation.

etuholefrieda@gmail.com


2021-04-09  Staff Reporter

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