Second Take – SlutWalk was a proud moment

2011-10-08 10:56

When I got back to Zoo Lake last Saturday, I was breathless and filled with hope.

A briskly-paced 4k march combined with a lot of slogan shouting caused the absence of breath. The presence of hope was due to the Rainbow Nation, officially declared dead and suddenly all around me, slutwalking.

A delightfully young Rainbow Nation: babies in pushchairs, adolescents, 20-somethings. Young men and women, dressed – and undressed – to the nines, overflowing with Joburg sass, witty slogans, and commitment to their cause.

Our future looks to be in good hands.I hated the term slutwalk when I first heard it. For goodness sake! How vulgar. But my daughters took it very seriously indeed. So I had to at least listen to the arguments.

That rape is caused by rapists, not clothes. That it’s enough already of blaming the victim. That there is not a single judging, condemning label against women – out of a long list – that makes assault okay.

Our whole family talked, and then we walked: me, my husband, our three daughters. I’d forgotten what fun a good march is. Chatting to like-minded strangers. Joining in call-and-answer slogans.

The transfixing spectacle of cars doing u-turns in Jan Smuts Ave on a Saturday morning, rather than wait for the marchers to go by. The heart-warming waves from – mainly women – motorists, acknowledged by a roar from the marchers.

Do I really think that women can wear anything anywhere? If my daughters were younger, I’d probably still say – I don’t think you should go out in that.

But after slutwalk I hope I’d do it with a little less self-righteous wrath, a little more rueful sympathy, and indignation that the world is the way it is.We walked the slutwalk to change this world. Utopian? Surely.

But South Africans have marched for impossible dreams before. That’s why I walked with a South African flag fastened to my backpack.

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