By Jen Thorpe
Yesterday’s post described an awesome initiative started by young girls in South Africa – the Refuser March. Today I received word from the organisers that the police had asked the girls to postpone their march. Why? Because the Metro Police would rather allow a group of men who are known to be violent to march, than allow a march by young women to take place.
Busi explained this morning that the march by Hostel Inmates through the centre of town could include up to 5000 people. The Metro Police have warned the V-girls that if they did march, there would be possible assaults because of the group’s prejudices about women. The fact that the girls will all be wearing short skirts was also mentioned as a reason why they would be ‘risking attack’. The march has now been moved to the 22nd of October, and will be following the same route as planned.
This is a perfect example of what is wrong with SA. Instead of preventing a group that the Metro Police themselves know ‘to be violent’ from marching because this group will put young women at risk, Metro Police instead chose to prevent women from exercising their right to peaceful protest. Instead of saying to men ‘don’t rape’ they say to women ‘don’t put yourself in the way of rapists’. Instead of saying to women ‘you are not responsible for violence inflicted against you’, they say ‘do not entice violence’.
With this decision, the Metro Police have chosen to regulate and restrict women’s freedom instead of men’s violence.