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Helen Moffett

@ Books LIVE

Take your Women’s Day and shove it*

1956[Warning: this post contains a lot of bad language and shouting. My parents should stop reading now.]

Dear Government (big, small, national and local),

Here’s an idea. Take your pathetic, meaningless, mind-blowingly expensive and stomach-churningly patronising Women’s Day and cancel it. Cancel the entire idea of “women’s month”. Tell me, what is the FUCKING point?

Trash that ridiculous, pointless, bloated Dept of Women, Children and People with Disabilities (how’s that for neatly categorising us little ladies – not only does possession of a vagina constitute a disability, but vagina-owners are as powerless and lacking in agency as children). It’s no more than a particularly sanctimonious event-planning agency. The departmental mission? “Ooh, women and children are getting raped and abused, they bear the brunt of criminally lousy education and brutal poverty: LET THEM EAT CUPCAKES! Plus we’ll throw in some glossy leaflets, and send someone in a designer suit to pat heads and make a speech full of platitudes before we jet off for another shopping trip er international conference.”

So ditch the pointless sodding public holiday (estimated cost to the economy: SEVEN BILLION). Stop bleating about the month of women. It’s PATHETIC, considering it’s open season on South African women 24/7, year in, year out. Our rape stats are a global disgrace (Goddess, how many times do I have to FUCKING say this, the WORST in the world for a country not at war – the scale is unimaginable, the suffering ditto), black lesbians have “carve me up and smash my brains in” signs stamped on their backs, rural women and children live in relentless, grinding misery and poverty HUGELY exacerbated by patriarchal strictures, which are of course absolutely sacred (and the fact that the Traditional Courts Bill, which would render these women even more helpless and wretched, is actually allowed to pollute national airtime is a bloody disgrace). We are failing, no, betraying, no, ABUSING children by callously pissing away their only shot at an education, their ONLY chance of a life of decent employment, a form of abuse that will affect girls worse than boys; we’re losing ground in terms of infant and maternal mortality; women without cash are being denied C-sections at state hospitals and giving birth to stillborn babies on the floor as a result. SO DON’T TALK TO ME ABOUT FUCKING WOMEN’S DAY YOU BOZOS.

Here’s a better idea. Instead of the jamborees and a long weekend of more boozing and beatings and rapes, take the money – the obscene piles and piles of it you intend to waste – and use it to fund Rape Crisis, which is having to CLOSE ITS FUCKING DOORS because you don’t think it’s worth supporting, never mind that it does priceless work, not just in enabling women and their families to pick up their lives after they’ve been blown apart, but in taking an enormous burden off both the public health and criminal justice systems. Fund the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children, which is literally having bake sales to keep running. All those NGOs that have lost their overseas funding because of the economic crisis – how about funding them, the hundreds that work with the poorest of the poor (which, SURPRISE! equates women and children), which do invaluable work for women with TB or Aids, which support women who are raising grandchildren, running crèches, soup kitchens, micro-employment schemes, food gardens, hospices and all the heroic things that South African women do to keep this country running, NO FUCKING THANKS TO YOU.

Stop whining about the Lotto (an additional tax on the poor) and big business, and how “they need to come to the party”. International funders have been warning for South African NGOs for years, you’re not a baby democracy any more, YOUR government needs to start picking up the tab for this. And so you bloody well ought. What’s next, asking the Lotto or big business to supply the state with ambulances?

So grow the fuck up. Cancel the froth and bubbles. What you have reduced the 1956 Women’s March to is a travesty. That was an occasion of extraordinary dignity and power, and we’d like to remember and honour it without having to use sickbags, please. Lilian Ngoyi and Albertina Sisulu and the thousands of brave women who took part that day are squirming in their graves at your appalling, ongoing, almost CASUAL abandonment of this country’s women, especially the poorest ones. The public spectacle of hypocrisy that is Women’s Day is just rubbing salt into their wounds.

*Never post in a rage. But sometimes rage is appropriate.

Update, Friday, 3pm: I’m stunned that this has gone viral. Thanks to all for the support and interest. If this has touched a nerve then PLEASE copy, post and tweet Helen Zille, premier of the Western Cape, as follows: @HelenZille Rape Crisis is shutting down during Women’s Month. Insane! Fund it now! #SaveRapeCrisis

 

Recent comments:

  • Gaiafrique@bookslive
    Gaiafrique@bookslive
    August 9th, 2012 @07:03 #
     
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    wathint'abafazi, wathint'imbokodo, uzakufa!!!

    Wonderfully written - too painfully true!

    Never mind the millions of South African women - daily paid workers - who will not receive their daily wage on this "holiday" because their employers have NO CLUE!

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    August 9th, 2012 @08:00 #
     
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    Preach!

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  • <a href="http://tiahbeautement.typepad.com/quotidian/" rel="nofollow">tiah</a>
    tiah
    August 9th, 2012 @08:13 #
     
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    *applause*

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  • deary
    deary
    August 9th, 2012 @08:26 #
     
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    They should really shove it down their F..king throats. If only their sisters or mothers have been raped they wud know what to d with d funds. Instead of them to pass a death penalty law for whoever rapes anyone so people can start desisting from d act. Its sickning to see the paper say a 2yr old was raped and we all read the papers and drop it cus its not our kids,those people never thought it wud happen to them but it did, y not do something for the sake of innocent and helpless women and kids. Spend d money on meaningful things then we will know you love women and when women and kids are 90% safe,we can have womens day. Until then may d cries of those of have fought for women and children be ring back tones in ur ears.

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  • <a href="http://www.cathellisen.com/" rel="nofollow">Cat Hellisen</a>
    Cat Hellisen
    August 9th, 2012 @08:37 #
     
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    this this this.

    So much.

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  • Darrel
    Darrel
    August 9th, 2012 @08:50 #
     
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    Terrific.

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  • Sarah Frost
    Sarah Frost
    August 9th, 2012 @08:51 #
     
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    Say it like it is, Helen.

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  • <a href="http://kelwynsole.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kelwyn Sole</a>
    Kelwyn Sole
    August 9th, 2012 @10:02 #
     
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    Oh, yes! Musho, Helen, musho...

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    August 9th, 2012 @10:20 #
     
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    Rant on, Helen! Looks like this piece is, deservedly, going viral.

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  • CA
    CA
    August 9th, 2012 @10:20 #
     
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    You strike a woman you strike a rock!
    + 1 million Helen...

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  • <a href="http://kittenofdiscord.blogspot.com/" rel="nofollow">DiscordianKitty</a>
    DiscordianKitty
    August 9th, 2012 @10:34 #
     
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    Excellent post! Thank you for writing it! <3

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  • <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2566390/bio" rel="nofollow">PaulIanJohnson</a>
    PaulIanJohnson
    August 9th, 2012 @10:40 #
     
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    Bravo.

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  • <a href="http://book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Ben - Editor</a>
    Ben - Editor
    August 9th, 2012 @10:51 #
     
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    It's easy to donate to Rape Crisis; I just did:

    http://rapecrisis.org.za/support-us/donate/

    Thanks, Helen.

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  • realist
    realist
    August 9th, 2012 @11:00 #
     
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    Wow!!! you must have had a really shitty life up to now... shame. Womans Day is for those Woman who have actually done something meaningful with their lives... if not, you are just another person this planet like myself... suck it up and move on.

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  • <a href="http://tiahbeautement.typepad.com/quotidian/" rel="nofollow">tiah</a>
    tiah
    August 9th, 2012 @11:02 #
     
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    Troll alert.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    August 9th, 2012 @11:04 #
     
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    Realist, if you had taken just a moment to google Helen Moffett, rather than post your anonymous and ignorant "interpretation" of what WomEn's Day is about... oh, why don't you move on or just plain fuck off.

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  • realist
    realist
    August 9th, 2012 @11:11 #
     
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    @ rustum...Thank goodness there arent too many people like yourself around... speak about ignorance... theres no need for profanity... shame.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    August 9th, 2012 @11:16 #
     
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    Struggling a bit with reality, Realist? Words like 'fuck' exist, and there are reasons, situations and ignoramuses for which no other word will do. Profanity exists. Deal.

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  • <a href="http://book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Ben - Editor</a>
    Ben - Editor
    August 9th, 2012 @11:31 #
     
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    Don't feed the troll, Rustum. Donate to Rape Crisis, all:

    http://rapecrisis.org.za/support-us/donate/

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  • realist
    realist
    August 9th, 2012 @11:32 #
     
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    I can see from the way you express yourself that you revel in the obscenities of life. Perhaps Helen and yourself require a little anger management and you both may learn to be more civil. I’m out of here … can’t find any stimulating conversation here. Thanks for your crude attempt though.

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  • Grenny
    Grenny
    August 9th, 2012 @11:43 #
     
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    Superb piece by Helen Moffatt - Women's day should be everyday, not just the August 9th window dressing exercise.

    Rustum, big up!

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    August 9th, 2012 @11:48 #
     
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    Ben, of course, it's my rule of thumb, but couldn't help in this instance.

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  • <a href="http://book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Ben - Editor</a>
    Ben - Editor
    August 9th, 2012 @12:03 #
     
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    No stress, Rustum :)

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    August 9th, 2012 @12:13 #
     
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    Bravo Helen! So glad you posted this! I've shared on and on, and it looks like many others have too. Clearly you have struck a chord ....

    and thanks for the donate to Rape Crisis link Ben

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  • <a href="http://tiahbeautement.typepad.com/quotidian/" rel="nofollow">tiah</a>
    tiah
    August 9th, 2012 @12:16 #
     
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    Good link, Ben!

    My thoughts on trolls. They are scared people who fear change because life for them works. Jealousy of who Helen is and what she has accomplished, despite the status quo. Many people want women to 'be satisfied' with life as it is because the fear keeps them in line.

    The advise for not getting raped is typically all about restricting women's movements, where they go and when. Rarely is rape looked at from the point of view - how do we get men to stop raping? Sadly, it works. Women's movements are restricted. They speak out less on certain subjects. They keep their sexuality private if it is deemed too: controversial / slutty / prim.

    Sadly, I am not immune. Our new dojo is fab, but it means parking in a badly lit enclosed parking garage. I hate it. I have to have somebody walk me to my car. Because I finish class before the majority of the fighters (because my health prohibits my doing the ground training) I have to ASK somebody to take a break from training and take me to my car. (I am not the only woman spooked by the garage, but the rest travel in pack when normal class finishes).

    The underlying fear restricts women's movements, voice and ability to live life out in the open. This is something trolls love. Even if they never actively hurt a woman physically, their politics, beliefs and outlooks contribute to the problems of why this stuff isn't getting solved.

    She should have just waited an another hour.
    Why was she out so late?
    Why does she need to take that class? Couldn't she do one earlier?
    Did you see her pink shorts? That's just asking for it.

    Trolls have small lives and relish the idea that the current status quo keeps women's lives smaller than they should be. This helps make troll feels better about troll little ol' troll self.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    August 9th, 2012 @12:29 #
     
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    Gosh. In my jammies, finishing an urgent edit, log on... to find this piece all over Facebook, and a silly number of likes. I've even attracted a troll or two. Good sign that this has hit a nerve. Ben, thanks SO much for posting the Rape Crisis donation link. I should have thought of that. If this piece IS going viral, then I hope many of you reading this will be inspired to donate -- thank you!

    Here's the link again: http://rapecrisis.org.za/support-us/donate/

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  • MoreOfARealist
    MoreOfARealist
    August 9th, 2012 @12:42 #
     
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    Shame I think Realist works for the government.
    I suppose he/she also thinks that donating to things is dumb...?

    Bizarre.

    ANYWAY, Moving on! Thank you for the impetuous i and I'm sure we all (always) need. Just donated now. It IS so easy!
    Thanks again

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  • <a href="http://book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Ben - Editor</a>
    Ben - Editor
    August 9th, 2012 @16:06 #
     
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    Helen, Jenny Crws-Williams mentioned your post several times on her 702 show today, imploring her listeners to read it. (I tuned in and out, so didn't hear if she mentioned Rape Crisis.) The nerve you've struck is very raw indeed. 3.2k 'Likes' and counting...

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  • <a href="http://www.theoverberg.com/" rel="nofollow">theoverberg</a>
    theoverberg
    August 9th, 2012 @16:19 #
     
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    Great article, very true! What a shame so many government, queasy-government (sic) and municipal members will ignore/decide against/ be unable to read this ...

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  • Bree
    Bree
    August 9th, 2012 @17:59 #
     
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    Well ranted Helen, shame we have to rant to be make the excellent points you did! I am so pleased you made the brilliant point about the paternalistic nature of the Women Children and People with Disabilities Department. You go Sister, we hold up half the sky and we are with you!!

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  • philip-ct
    philip-ct
    August 9th, 2012 @18:08 #
     
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    FANTASTIC, Helen, and too painfully true. Brilliant ranting; a pity that those in government can't really hear what you say. .....

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  • <a href="http://johneppel.bookslive.co.za" rel="nofollow">John Eppel</a>
    John Eppel
    August 9th, 2012 @18:33 #
     
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    I'm proud of you, Helen.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    August 9th, 2012 @18:34 #
     
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    Ben-E, I'm a bit shattered, as I've been saying this stuff for over a decade, with nothing like this response. For 11 years, I've written reasoned, logical material on sexual violence, trying to do justice to the complexity of the issues. This material is taught at universities, used by crisis organizations for training and manuals, but seems to have bypassed the public until now. Was it the F-word that did the trick? For those readers who've (correctly) pointed out the simplistics of this scream of rage, and are interested, please Google my name to see my more nuanced writing in this field. There's an example here: http://helenmoffett.bookslive.co.za/blog/2009/01/23/the-red-button-word-writing-about-rape/

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  • <a href="http://rachelzadok.bookslive.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rachel Zadok</a>
    Rachel Zadok
    August 9th, 2012 @19:19 #
     
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    I don't think it was the F-word. I think it was the fact, that almost two decades on, things are going from bad to worse, and our government is entrenching a patriarchal way of thinking that leaves most cold. It strikes a cord now because things should be different, and they're not.

    Well said. I hope people keep spreading this post around and talking about it.

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  • <a href="http://book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Ben - Editor</a>
    Ben - Editor
    August 9th, 2012 @19:28 #
     
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    Helen, the anger is definitely the key factor. Your post is the verbal equivalent of a (non-violent) service delivery protest. I've never seen South Africans more fed up than they are at present (not having lived here before 1994). People are simmering - corruption, mediocrity ("Dept of Women, Children and People with Disabilities" - !? "Dept of Human Settlements" - !? can anyone say D-?) and, most of all, lack of opportunity are driving them beserk - and small gestures of protest, like your post, are triggers to set off big reactions.

    Plus, it's just a darn good post.

    Here's hoping it goes from 4.3k 'Likes' straight into manifestos and policies to achieve genuine empowerment for women.

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  • <a href="http://tiahbeautement.typepad.com/quotidian/" rel="nofollow">tiah</a>
    tiah
    August 9th, 2012 @19:34 #
     
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    That link is very interesting. Slowly working my way through that chapter.

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  • DarkDippy
    DarkDippy
    August 10th, 2012 @01:58 #
     
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    Wanted to share. This is the account of a female friend on Women's Day this year:

    "I was sitting on the beach, waiting for my friend to join me with our take-away coffees. A woman approched me and asked me if I could give her a donation in exchange of one of her books. My first answer was 'sorry i'm flat broke', she looke
    d at me and said 'not a problem, I understand'. She went to the guy sitting behind me and he turned her down.

    "I then felt this urge to call her, and I told her 'come, tell me your story'. Turned out that she has been on the streets for a few days, left her kids with her mom coz she couldn't face seeing her step father who just came out of jail and who raped her. She has been abused since her childhood. She now sleeps on the streets and has been gang raped.

    "I gave her the 20 rands note that I had on me and she gave me a book and said 'thank you for listening to me'. So yeah, Happy Women's day!"

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  • DarkDippy
    DarkDippy
    August 10th, 2012 @01:59 #
     
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    Egads. Sorry about the horrid formatting above.
    There should be a preview or edit option for comments :-).

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  • Rusky
    Rusky
    August 10th, 2012 @10:20 #
     
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    Been debating with others over whether Moffett's righteous indignation is a useful way to build something more significant to fight women's oppression? While her piece appeals to the already converted middle class left/feminists, I think it's likely to put off a broader potential layer of support who wouldn't go beyond the superficial offensiveness of the language to engage with the arguments and be convinced by them. There's also a worrying intolerance evident in the discussion on bookslive - questioning of the piece is dismissed out of hand by most people here as 'trolling'. The implication is that "we the enlightened ones" are above the need to actually debate and convince others of the rightness of our arguments. Then we complain that we preach endlessly on these issues without positive results.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    August 10th, 2012 @11:45 #
     
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    You make several valid points, Rusky, but if you read the comments you will see that Helen has "been saying this stuff for over a decade, with nothing like this response. For 11 years, I've written reasoned, logical material on sexual violence, trying to do justice to the complexity of the issues. This material is taught at universities, used by crisis organizations for training and manuals, but seems to have bypassed the public until now. Was it the F-word that did the trick?"

    Regarding the response to trolls and amenability to discussion, I think you will find most people more receptive to your remarks if you enter the fray with your visor up, flying your full colours, rather than under a pseudonym.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    August 10th, 2012 @11:55 #
     
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    ^ Or, if you look at Realist's first post, it's hard to discern his or her own willingness and tolerance for debate:

    "Wow!!! you must have had a really shitty life up to now... shame. Womans Day is for those Woman who have actually done something meaningful with their lives... if not, you are just another person this planet like myself... suck it up and move on."

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  • JN
    JN
    August 10th, 2012 @12:05 #
     
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    There is always a place for righteous anger, especially in the context of the ceaseless violence committed against the women and children of this country, the horror of which no words, not even the expletives, can convey. And, yes, the knee jerk closing off of dialogue doesn't help matters either.
    But, Rusty and others, if you want to understand how very difficult it is in South Africa to broach the topic of sexual inequality, read the responses to this piece:

    http://www.news24.com/Columnists/GeorginaGuedes/How-to-be-a-woman-20120809

    Barring the fact that the respondents have no idea of what feminism is, they confirm what personal experience has taught. South Africans are deeply threatened by the notion of womanhood being a political issue. And so to raise it as such invariably invites all kinds of defensiveness and intentional misunderstandings.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    August 10th, 2012 @12:13 #
     
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    I've been amazed at how little trolling there's been, or even dissent (although apparently some folk got VERY nasty on Twitter, which I don't do.) A few have pointed out the holes in my 700-word piece, or rather the further issues it raises. I invite anyone and everyone to please Google my name, and to follow the links to the 60 000-odd words I've written on sexual violence, some of which has been translated into Spanish for community workers in Central and South America; some of which has been reworked for training materials for crisis organizations; some of which has been used in training Rape Crisis staff; some of which was commissioned by an NGO working with extremely poor women in three continents. Feedback welcome at that point!

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    August 10th, 2012 @12:21 #
     
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    And Rustum, I had to laugh at "Realist"; he/she reminded me of a troll who once wrote "So Miss [sic] Moffat [sic], you're just desperate to see yr name in print". This after my fifth book. Those who don't use Google aren't going to be taken very seriously, I fear...

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  • <a href="http://book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Ben - Editor</a>
    Ben - Editor
    August 10th, 2012 @12:27 #
     
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    Rusky, Richard, yep, we're up for reasoned debate on Books LIVE - particularly, as Richard says, when the debaters are known quantities (that is, they self-identify via their usernames and associated websites).

    Although trolls aren't seen too often around these parts, we do call them when they pop up. "Realist", above, was pretty clearly a troll, to judge by his tone and line of attack. If you start off the way he did, it's up to you to prove that you're not a troll.

    I read Helen's main point as being: "The government pays lip service to women, but actually does nothing for us, and things are getting worse."

    A quick survey of the people liking and tweeting her post indicates that it has gained traction beyond the vast left middle-class. Anger is the great leveller, it would seem. (But also: viva middle-class lefties, viva!)

    Possibly my favourite part of Helen's post is where she calls the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities a "particularly sanctimonious event-planning agency". There's truth in that sting.

    Last, are Rustum and I the only ones around here who don't find the word "fuck" all that offensive? Fuck that!

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  • <a href="http://www.darlingtonrichards.com/" rel="nofollow">moi</a>
    moi
    August 10th, 2012 @12:28 #
     
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    I'm chiming in with Helen and Rusky's interest in whether this very passionate piece translates, or can translate, into something more effective in terms of gender equity and social transformation in South Africa. Which is not to sniff at the amazing response of 'likes' in terms of consciousness-raising and giving voice to them who don't have the words.

    For example, I'd love to know if there was any marked increase in donations to Rape Crisis yesterday - wouldn't it be cool if every one of those 6.6k likers had also sent over a R100...

    On a more jaded note, I hope all those positive responses to the piece aren't becasue of, and don't promote, blindness to the fact that rape, oppression and degradation of women and girls isn't the fault of our government. It may feel good/cathartic to rail at government for the very justifiable reasons Helen mentioned but the very uncomfortable reality is that the rape, oppression and degradation of South African women and girls is perpetrated by South African men, not by the South African government.

    And it's really rather tragic if we're reduced to hoping our government to do something about it, rather than expecting our men to do something about it. Or have I reasoned wrong?

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  • <a href="http://book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Ben - Editor</a>
    Ben - Editor
    August 10th, 2012 @12:39 #
     
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    For sure, moi - it's ultimately up to South Africans to change things, not the government of the day. But the question Helen's post implicitly poses is: Are the significant resources that the government has at its disposal being spent correctly toward its stated aim - which is to improve the situation of women - or are they being squandered? This seems a fair question to me.

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  • <a href="http://tiahbeautement.typepad.com/quotidian/" rel="nofollow">tiah</a>
    tiah
    August 10th, 2012 @12:50 #
     
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    Since Moi has now chimed in, I'd like to point out that every November for the 16 days of campaign she posts about this stuff and gets almost no looks or likes.

    Damaria Senne is another woman whose been beating this dead horse. Actually I could go on and on listing women who talk about this; as Helen Moffett pointed out, she's been screaming about these things for years.

    My personal theory goes along with some of the above, that are lovely, soft spoken, sweet, very positive person who likes kitties lost her tempter and said, 'Fuck.' (Plus her essay / rant was titled brilliantly).

    But as her old link showed, she has tried to point these things out only to get the, 'Are you married?' question. Other women rant and get told they are cranky bitches or 'middle-class white woman who doesn't know how hard life can really be.' So then, of course, when black woman yells she gets the angry-black-woman stereotype tossed right in her face.

    Which perhaps means over the last few years women have toned it down and tried to use rational argument and polite stats to speak for their case. Helen tried a different approach and people cheered. (I did!)

    As to donations - I am sure there was a spike of support yesterday. What I would hope people are doing is following that 'one off' support with a monthly bank order, even if it can only be a small monthly amount. Too often a cause gets 'noticed' (67 minutes campaign!) and then forgotten. For example, our local SPCA had 2,000 people show up on 1 day (67 min!). They can barely get a volunteer or two each day. If those 2,000 had simply spread themselves out, 1 day a year, the SPCA would have been better off than just a one day 'oh look, I'm helllllllllllpppppppppppppiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggg!'

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    August 10th, 2012 @12:54 #
     
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    My memory just coughed up a previous discussion during which I suggested that soccer players, popular musicians and other celebs should be roped in to support an anti-rape campaign. (I also recall that my proposed slogan - Fuck Rape - met with some resistance...)

    Surely there must be popular figures and other leaders who are willing to speak out against violence and injustice against women?

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  • <a href="http://tiahbeautement.typepad.com/quotidian/" rel="nofollow">tiah</a>
    tiah
    August 10th, 2012 @13:05 #
     
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    Ryan Gosling is Jezebel darling for his very vocal pro women stance both on men shouldn't do to women and how media / movie grading systems are so threaten by portrayal of a woman truly enjoying sex.

    That's all I've got, really.

    Would also like to point out, dear Richard, that you are one of the few males I know who actually read (and reviewed!) Whiplash. Makes me very sad that book has not done better and is very pertinent to this thread.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    August 10th, 2012 @13:09 #
     
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    Moi, what triggered the uber-rage of this piece was the imminent closure of Rape Crisis -- and the unbelievable attitude of govt, when approached for funding (starts boiling again). RCCT has done sterling work for 3 and a half decades, representing an incredible resource in terms of experience, training, expertise. A Cape organization, it serves the entire nation in terms of its advocacy work, stats compilation, training and modeling for organizations like POWA etc. Govt is quite happy to dump all this expertise and experience on the trash heap. But they'll build a pricey Women's Museum!

    Because rape is ALWAYS first a medical emergency, then a long mental health and economic burden, then sometimes a criminal justice issue, RC was doing an enormous amount of the state's work at all three stages. Many (overburdened, overworked, backlogged) Cape prosecutors insist that RC be involved in rape cases -- the conviction rates rises by OVER 80 PER CENT when they are. (Last year, RC were in court supporting 1500 cases -- that's about six A DAY in Greater Cape Town ALONE -- when you think how few rapes are reported, and how few of those then go to trial, you start to get an idea of the scale of the problem...)

    When I heard that provincial and national govt were actually using phrases like "you must GET IN LINE" [with the other 2500 charities in the Western Cape); "Big business must come to the party"; "We will look into putting pressure on the Lotto", I FLIPPED.

    Cape Town is the known rape capital of the world. Every family on the Flats is affected by it. And govt sees no problem is shutting down the few channels of support open to the thousands and thousands of women, children and men who need these services every single day (sorry, back in rant mode). Regardless of the fact that this will SWAMP the police and emergency health services (RC works tirelessly to support both), regardless of the fact that there will be a steep rise in unwanted pregnancies and HIV infections following rape (both major burdens on the state), that the collection of forensic evidence will be compromised, RC must GET IN LINE with its cap out, as if the work it does is the same as stocking a library or funding soccer uniforms.

    Yes, I would like men to stop raping (and have written about this at GREAT length elsewhere). But right now, to shut down funding for RC at the start of Women's Month... govt needs a HUGE kick in the shins.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    August 10th, 2012 @13:12 #
     
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    In the meantime, here's what I want people to do: tweet Helen Zille @helenzille, asking her to ensure that govt funds Rape Crisis. It's OUR tax money; this is what we want to spend it on.

    Moi, a LOT of donations to RC yesterday. I'm waiting to hear from the Director how much.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    August 10th, 2012 @14:59 #
     
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    Please! Copy, paste and tweet the following to Helen Zille: @HelenZille Rape Crisis is shutting down during Women's Month. Insane! Fund it now! #SaveRapeCrisis

    (Thanks to Ben for help with tweetworld)

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    August 10th, 2012 @15:04 #
     
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    Um, Ben, when I updated the post, the google plus and "likes" counter got reset to zero. Can you fix?

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  • <a href="http://www.darlingtonrichards.com/" rel="nofollow">moi</a>
    moi
    August 10th, 2012 @15:11 #
     
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    @ Richard (sorry if I'm hi-jacking your thread, Helen – say the word and I'll duck out) I don't see why popular/high profile men would be needed to champion a change in men's behaviour towards women and girls... ordinary no-name-brand men in the street are just as likely to be physical bullies, wife-beaters and date-, gang-, granny-, baby-rapists. Or not.

    Actually, I do wonder what it must be like to be a good, kind, harmless man and know you are lumped together (albeit only by very high statistical probability) with all those actual women abusers as a potential abuser too. It can't be fun to know your wise sister-in-law will probably think twice about leaving her little girl in your care; that your daughter's young girl friends probably wouldn't be allowed to sleep over unless you have a live-in woman partner who will be present for the duration; that most women who do not know you, will automatically treat you with a wary distancing, if they happen to encounter you in a badly lit and/or unpopulated place.

    I wonder how good, kind, harmless men put up with living under this kind of cloud, and how they deal with it. All that's evident is that it's pretty very paralysing…

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  • <a href="http://www.brianvmoore.com" rel="nofollow">Brian Moore</a>
    Brian Moore
    August 10th, 2012 @15:15 #
     
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    Thanks for an awesome, well written, appropriately strong and totally relevant article, Helen.

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  • <a href="http://book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Ben - Editor</a>
    Ben - Editor
    August 10th, 2012 @15:50 #
     
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    Helen, fixed! The problem was that the apostrophe in "women's" disappeared from the post slug when you resaved the post. (Apostrophes are the bane of all the web universe.)

    Important: don't resave the post again without checking in with me first.

    Good to have grabbed those 'Likes' back :)

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  • Mamakalisa
    Mamakalisa
    August 10th, 2012 @17:32 #
     
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    This article should be published in all SA newspapers and broadcast on all social media. It so perfectly says what so many of us feel but didn't know how to express - well now we have a way, and may it be shouted out from rooftops and in the streets all around the country. Victor Hugo hit the nail on the head - "There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." Time for women to find their inner strength and power and make a stand for all daughters, sisters, mothers and grandmothers. If every person who has 'liked' this donated only R10 to Rape Crisis it may just help as well as sending out a message.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    August 10th, 2012 @18:52 #
     
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    I'm no expert in these matters, Moi, but I reckon a campaign featuring sporting/music heroes who regularly remind youngsters about the "rules of sexual engagement" or "fair play" would help educate a new generation. I grew up in a rather genteel environment, but we also fed each other the myth that "no" didn't necessarily mean "no". I soon learned otherwise, but I can well imagine that others arrive a different conclusions, especially if rappers keep going on about "bitches and ho's" and portraying women as gold-digging sex dolls.

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  • <a href="http://liesljobson.bookslive.co.za" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    Liesl
    August 11th, 2012 @10:05 #
     
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    Late to add my voice, but yeah! Yeah. Thanks for saying it, Helen.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    August 12th, 2012 @17:11 #
     
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    I googled myself for the first time in ages to check how accessible my writings on gender and sexual violence actually were, and have been disturbed to see how much material has disappeared behind academic journal paywalls or suffered the munchings of link rot. On Monday, I'm going to do some serious excavating and then ask Ben-E to drop these links in at the end of the post above.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    August 12th, 2012 @22:58 #
     
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    On second thoughts: I just dug up the bibliography of my writing on gender and sexual violence I put together for a book proposal. There's a lot of overlap, but I seem to have written or co-authored: four book chapters; six conference papers; five public lectures; two research papers and two training colloquiums, all commissioned by NGOs; one journal article. I'd forgotten how long I've been doing this. So I'll just find and post links to a select few. I think.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    August 13th, 2012 @08:06 #
     
  • Paige
    Paige
    August 13th, 2012 @08:49 #
     
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    Thank you, thank you, thank you Helen! Found this via the Times article. Couldn't agree more.

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  • Reader
    Reader
    August 13th, 2012 @10:13 #
     
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    THANK YOU FROM ALL WOMEN WHO FEEL AS YOU DO. You said it as it should be said, with RAGE and FRUSTRATION. Now we need to DO something, starting with donating to Rape Crisis.

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  • TVOS
    TVOS
    August 13th, 2012 @11:24 #
     
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    ***Applause, Applause!!*** great sentiments and I so wish that it would fall on ears that would listen, but how can we expect the government to listen when our president "was" (said very loosley) charged with rape and found not guilty, if he can get away with it then what hope do we have????

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  • <a href="http://book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Ben - Editor</a>
    Ben - Editor
    August 13th, 2012 @12:57 #
     
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    A reminder that you can donate to Rape Crisis here:

    http://rapecrisis.org.za/support-us/donate/

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  • SamO
    SamO
    August 13th, 2012 @18:50 #
     
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    If politicians were for real and you ran, you'd have my vote

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    August 13th, 2012 @23:37 #
     
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    Thanks to everyone, esp those of you who've commented above whom I don't know personally, for being so supportive. When I realised this was going viral, I thought I'd be run out of town on a broomstick. Have had scads of kind emails and Facebook messages. And some lovely chap on Times Live said "Well, Ms Moffett is certainly not sitting on her tuffet". Which was inevitable, but rather sweet.

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  • Lass
    Lass
    August 14th, 2012 @06:43 #
     
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    Thank you. Thank you for speaking up.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    August 14th, 2012 @11:16 #
     
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    Um. Just in terms of historical accuracy, this is a case of plus ca change: it was pretty horrible being a rape survivor under the Nats too. There were almost no crisis organizations, and they tended to be sidelined as the lunatic fringe (donate! donate to Rape Crisis); the legal definition of rape was so narrow as to be barbaric (the forensic evidence had to prove that penetration had taken place to a certain depth -- I kid you not); the police, district surgeons and courts had no sensitivity training, court cases were horrendous BECAUSE of the death penalty (magistrates rarely gave guilty findings), as well as openly racist, there were no protocols for medical treatment (for e.g., some doctors refused to give treatment to prevent pregnancy because this was UNGODLY), you couldn't get an abortion unless rape had been proven (technically impossible within the time-frame) etc etc etc etc, and almost EVERYONE blamed the victim.

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  • <a href="http://book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Ben - Editor</a>
    Ben - Editor
    August 15th, 2012 @10:49 #
     
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    News just in! Since Helen's post first appeared, Rape Crisis has received many thousands of rand in new donations. Thanks to everyone who's donated so far; if you haven't yet, please do:

    http://rapecrisis.org.za/support-us/donate/

    To reiterate one of Helen's earlier suggestions, please write protesting the closure of Rape Crisis to Mike Waters, Shadow Minister of Social Development, at mikew [@] da.org.za. If you do tweet, and you haven’t yet done so, tweet @HelenZille as follows:

    @HelenZille Rape Crisis is shutting down during Women's Month. Insane! Fund it now! #SaveRapeCrisis

    By request from several quarters, this thread is now closed for comments.

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Commenting is closed.