By Anouschka Tollig
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 9 of VARSITY News.
On the 27th of August I went running with my friend, I was wearing leggings and a top. My chest, legs and arms were covered. As my friend and I were walking back, a man shouted from a taxi, “What you are wearing isn’t right girls”. My response was, “THANK YOU!” because it was my body and it was my choice.
For a man to tell me, wearing leggings that covers my legs (despite the fact of how much I was sweating under them) and a top that covers my chest and arms (even though I was sweating myself to death with the heat) is not right, then I ask what is?
I feel like, as a young girl, I cannot wear jeans because my butt is too big, I can’t wear a crop top, my stomach shows, I can’t wear shorts, my legs show and even if I put on a hoodie and sweatpants, it still would not be right because no matter what a girl wears or dresses, she gets raped and murdered. I don’t feel it’s fair. Why must women be fully covered while men can walk around as they wish? What’s wrong with wearing shorts on a hot day? Why can’t I wear a swimsuit at the beach?
My simple answer? Because in South Africa, women and young girls are being drugged, abused, kidnapped, raped and murdered and thrown in trash or a lake and left there to rot as if they were nothing.
Telling me what I was wearing was not right is like telling a dog that eating when their hungry isn’t right. Women should not be treated this way because we don’t deserve it. Innocent women are being murdered for just going outside or walking to the post office. It happens everywhere, outside and inside their homes.
If you are a young girl, cis-woman, queer gendered, femme-bodied or any identity that does not subscribe to conditions of patriarchy in South Africa, pray that God watches over you and protects us because we are not safe here.
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