#MenAreTrash

When I first became aware of the #MenAreTrash hashtag it was never a stand-alone thing. The hashtag always preceded or followed a story, in less than 140 characters on Twitter, about why men are trash. Every reason for using the hashtag was real. Horrific stories of rape and abuse shared the hashtag with downright rude stories about men dissing women and girls for how they looked, dressed, spoke. One tweeter used #MenAreTrash to describe the total stranger who flooded her with unsolicited dick pics. Another posted a picture of her black eye. There was the one who addressed her harasser personally, and another who posted a thread of daily incidents of harassment she had experienced since puberty. It was a long list. Sometimes #MenAreTrash was the single word answer to a tweet that was sexist or inappropriate or ugly towards women.

When I first encountered the hashtag I had no idea how it was going to be taken up, or how much it would trend. But, more importantly, I had no idea how fierce male resistance to it would be.

Close friends of mine took the hashtag personally. Sane men, who understand white privilege and systemic racism; men who have spoken out in defence of #BlackLivesMatter and who took pains to explain the wrongness of the #AllLivesMatter backlash, struggled with #MenAreTrash. They couldn’t help themselves. They took it personally. I was shocked. I was forced to explain #MenAreTrash more than once to those who were hurt by the hashtag and the message behind it.

This is how I explained it. If you are white and you have been working to understand racism and privilege and you see #WhitesAreRacist you should, after a moment to digest the usual default knee-jerk response, be able to walk on by, acknowledging that for the most part it is true, but that you don’t have to take it personally. Same thing for #MenAreTrash. If you are a man who works hard to break down the gender stereotypes, who has a clear conscience regarding the objectification of women, and a man who keeps standing up and calling out men who behave inappropriately towards women, then you should be able to walk on by, acknowledging that men are trash does not mean you.

Unfortunately, men have been outraged by #MenAreTrash. A lot more outraged by far by that hashtag then by the reasons behind it. Hysterical, loud and vitriolic responses have included trolling, threatening and even physically harming women for using the hashtag. See the irony there?

And it is a never-ending cycle.

Here is my advice to men. Keep quiet for a moment and listen. Hear what is being said. And hear why it is being said. Hold off on your outrage for a little bit, and then see if you can redirect it. We need you to be outraged. We need you to be outraged by what is being done to us, by men. We need you to help us fight this fight. We need you men to move yourselves away from the denial, the whining voice of the hard done by and misinterpreted, and to get over yourselves for long enough to identify what the problem is, and to hear why #MenAreTrash is a rallying cry.

Show us it isn’t so.

Megan Furniss

Megan Furniss is a South African born playwright, actor, writer, director, blogger and improviser. She likes to find spaces to let her big mouth and big opinions be heard and seen. She lives and works in Cape Town. It’s a love hate relationship.

Women Impacting Women

Stop The Bus Day 2

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Arriving at the Centre

It is day two and the team is in high spirit after a good night’s rest. Today the team is making their way to The Saartjie Baartman Centre in Brandwacht.

The contact person for this centre requested a talk for the ladies at the centre. A few ladies of an informal settlement ; Ivan Park in Worcester also attended.

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Tuthu doing the registration.

The topic was Understanding Rape and why we need to support rape survivors.

The facilitators Jemima, Nontuthuzelo and Shaamiela gave a two and a half hour talk in Afrikaans and Xhosa. The ladies participated and also told their own stories. After the talk they said that they were  thankful and will support and assist other women  who also go through abuse.

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Evelynne Moses and Programme Manager Catherine Wiese

The next stop was Valley Fm a community Radio station in Worcester. Evelynne was interviewed by the programme manager  Chathrine Wiese.

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Debriefing

Evelynne encouraged the listeners to break the silence and to speak out against abuse. She explained the different type of rape, myths and the support for the survivor through the criminal justice system.

The team had debriefing and packed the resources for the next day.

 

 

 

 

Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust wishes to thank our donor Department of Social Development (DSD)  that made Stop the Bus 2012 possible.Department of Social Development Provincial Logo

Wear your heart on your sleeve this Christmas

By Kathleen Dey

There could be no time more opportune than this for supporting an organisation like the Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust with the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women and the giving season coming together at the end of the year.

 

Our Vision and Mission

Rape Crisis has a vision of a South African Criminal Justice System that supports rape survivors in all of their interactions with it.  It is our mission to act as a bridge between the survivor and the system until such time as that vision becomes a reality.  Our counselling, training and advocacy programmes are designed to work in a coordinated fashion to ensure that we:

  • Increase the reporting of rape through support to survivors in communities
  • Increase the conviction rate of rapists through support to rape survivors at courts and health facilities and through law reform
  • Reducing secondary trauma to rape victims in the system through training with personnel within the system

We do this with the aim of reducing the number of rape incidents in South Africa.

 

Our Projects

Our projects include a Speak Out project for rape survivors wanting to speak publicly about their experiences as a way of challenging rapists, the Stop the Bus Campaign that takes our work out to rural areas during the 16 Days of Activism, the Birds and the Bees Youth Camp for peer educators working to raise awareness in schools and the Road to Justice Campaign that lobbies for Victim Empowerment Legislation to be enacted.

 

How you can support us

Like many South African NGOs Rape Crisis needs funds to sustain its valuable work.  We would like to appeal to companies and individuals to support us in one of the following ways:

  1. We are currently seeking bridging funds to make up a shortfall in this financial year of less than one month’s operating costs and any contribution would be welcome from potential donors as a form of social investment in our project work.  To donate contact Kathleen Dey, the Director, on kath@rapecrisis.org.za
  2. Individuals can contribute by joining the 1000 Hearts Campaign on our website at http://rapecrisis.org.za/support-us/1000-hearts/ and giving a heart as a gift this Christmas.  Each heart costs R100 a month, repeat payments can be set up online using a credit card and a heart in our online display will be named after the person of your choice.
  3. Rape Crisis is currently in the product development stage of our Safe Space Corporate Training and Consulting offering consultation on company sexual harassment policy development, training of managers in running disciplinary proceedings, training of HR departments in how to support victims or complainants, wellness days for employees and assistance to employees through individual counselling.  If your company is interested in any of these services then contact Shafieka Moos at shafieka@rapecrisis.org.za  for more information.  We’ll be launching our Safe Space Training and Consultation services early in 2012.

 

Stay in touch and get involved

To sign up for our quarterly newsletter email newsletter@rapecrisis.org.za and we will send you the latest news about our work, trends in the sector and ways you can get involved as a volunteer in our projects.  We offer training in counselling, court support, public speaking and workshop facilitation

 

to community based volunteers from all walks of life.  All of our direct services are offered by these skilled and dedicated volunteers.

 

Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.

Mother Teresa