No work, no school, no buying, and selling. This is the way South African women are taking a stand against rape. What will markets sell without women? What economy thrives without women? Perhaps, this is the most civil way to achieve justice and fight the rape scourge destroying many young girls and women.
Between 2015/16, there were 51,895 crimes of a sexual nature reported to the South African Police Service.
The women have reinforced themselves with #WithoutUs to protest femicide and rape in the country.
The rate of sexual violence in South Africa is said to be among the highest in the world. Recently, a 31-year-old woman was kidnapped and shot dead in a nature reserve, while a 21-year-old nursing student was abducted outside a hospital and raped. These led to the Twitter movement #AmINext, which had women asking if they will not be the next victim.
With the #WithoutUs protest, the women are sitting in their homes, refusing to go to work, to school, or even participate in the economy. They say no woman on the streets of South Africa, on Wednesday, September 11, will be found buying or selling anything.
Some women have however said that while they support the protest, they have to go to their places of work, else they’ll lose their jobs. So they’re wearing black in solidarity.
Hopefully, the voice of Women South Africa is heard and the protest yields a positive result.
"Can we also NOT go to the clubs on weekends for about a month or so.#WithoutUs," a Twitter user commented.
Some were worried about the impact it could have on employees whose bosses are men.
"My concern is that today’s #WithoutUs will be just a slight inconvenience to men & the capitalist system, nothing more. That it will be just another day of unpaid leave/absence from school for others. That someone may be unfairly dismissed for staying away. Just another day in SA."
"Today we put down all the tools, let’s see what our country can do without women #WithoutUs."
South Africa has one of the highest rate of rape in the world. Traditional institutions and metaphysical beliefs has also strengthened this crime as some men had been found to rape in order to get them cured of HIV and AIDS. The seemingly impossible way of defending rape victims through the country's weak justice system has further ignited the call for reforms in the sector.
Hopefully, the new wave of protest can trigger a social movement much more impactful than that which toppled the Apartheid regime. Only time will tell.
Header Image Credit: dailymaverick.co.za