South Africa: Cat-Calling - a Not So Subtle Symbol of Rape Culture


Sonke Gender Justice has launched a month-long @catcalls campaign, a social media initiative aimed at sharing experiences of gender-based violence. People who have been victims of gender-based violence can private message the campaign, which will post the experience anonymously to avoid repercussions, says Sonke's Gadeeja Abbas.

In South Africa, walking down the street is a nightmare for most women. Whether it's cat-calling, lewd comments or any other form of street harassment, gender-based violence rears its ugly head in seemingly subtle ways, with dire consequences.

"It ranges from someone walking through the taxi rank and being cat-called to someone being raped," said Gadeeja Abbas, explaining the spectrum of gender-based violence in our society.

Abbas is the multimedia and communications specialist for Sonke Gender Justice (Sonke), an advocacy group which launched the @catcalls campaign, a month-long social media initiative aimed at empowering survivors to share their lived experiences of gender-based violence (GBV).

"The campaign works where if you face any experience on the spectrum of gender-based violence, you private message us, we will post the experience anonymously, so there is no connotation to your name or your identity. This is to create an atmosphere where people feel that they can express themselves...

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