#WhereAreTheMen

Rape is a global issue on college campuses. In the United States, 1 in 5 women are raped; here in South Africa, it’s 1 in 3. The issue is one of several that have emerged from the “fees must fall” movement that originally focused on rising tuition but now encompasses everything from education and poverty to women’s and gay rights. Today, I witnessed an empowering protest on the campus of the University of the Witwatersrand where women took off their shirts to dramatize how often victims are blamed for sexual assault. As one speaker said, “The fact that you might have seen me naked today gives you no right to rape me tomorrow.” She was one of several young women who shared their stories of rape. They cried, they laughed, they sang and they danced. A Wits administrator said that starting the conversation is great, but men also have to rally behind the movement. Some men in the crowd said they felt targeted, that not all men are rapists. But other men joined in to show their support. In those 90 minutes, I learned the power of a provacative tactic to demand an end to abuse of women.

–Rachel Stone