This week it happened again; a young woman was stripped naked in public for wearing clothes some deemed too revealing (apparently a mini skirt and top revealing her back). There have been a number of similar incidents around Lusaka in the last year and every time I hear about another one my blood starts to boil.
Who are these men who think it’s in their power to decide what is suitable and not for a woman to dress?
What make them think they have a given right to strip naked and humiliate another human being?
Meanwhile filming the whole thing and sharing it on social media, causing further humiliation for the victim.
In Zambia there is a lot being done to curb gender based violence and we see many women in powerful positions, that’s why it is so disappointing to see that there is still this segment in our society that is trying violently to impose their sexist values on others, values that have no place in the 21st century.
But what worries me more than these clearly ignorant thugs or “kaponyas” however is how little other women seem to be bothered. They are passively allowing it to happen, some even thinking “she asked for it dressing like that!”. If anything is to change, women need to stand up for each other; instead we are busy pulling each other down.
If we as women aren’t going to fight for our right to choose how to dress, for equal pay, when and if to have children, who and when to marry, access to safe abortion etc, who will?
In Kenya similar stripping incidents led to the creation of #MyDressMyChoice and major demonstrations on the streets of Nairobi in support of women’s right to choose how to dress. Will we see anything of that kind in Zambia?
Image showing the demonstrations in Nairobi in November 2014 (source ).