'Trash must stop policing the number of partners we have'

About 800 marchers armed with placards calling for the dismantling of patriarchy and the protection of women make their way through the streets of Durban to the city hall where they will be handing over a memorandum to government during the #TotalShutdown march.
About 800 marchers armed with placards calling for the dismantling of patriarchy and the protection of women make their way through the streets of Durban to the city hall where they will be handing over a memorandum to government during the #TotalShutdown march.
Image: Thuli Dlamini

EFF secretary in Tshwane Nqobile Mhlongo said on Wednesday that all men are trash and that men must stop policing women’s bodies.

She said men have no business telling women how many partners they can have.

Mhlongo, 29, was amongst more than 2 000 women who gathered at Marabastad's old bus depot in Pretoria on Wednesday ahead of the march to the Union Buildings as part of the #TotalShutdown national campaign against gender-based violence.

“We are here because we believe all men are trash. Now if there is any man who thinks they are not trash, they are the reason we are saying men are trash,” she said.

Mhlongo charged that in South Africa and anywhere in the world, women live in fear of men, saying even men were fearful of other men but that no man was scared of a woman.

“Even men who say not all men are trash they are themselves scared of walking the streets in the middle of the night because they are scared of other men. I have never heard of a man being scared of a woman. Men and women live in fear of men,” she said.

Mhlongo said men must be put in their place and get it into their heads that women are equal partners in society.

She said there will be no peace or democracy without women at the centre of it all, saying there can be no freedom when men are killing women every day.

“We are saying down with femicide, down with men killing us. Our bodies are not their crime scenes. We choose what we want to do with our bodies without men policing us, saying we are asking for being raped because of the clothes we wear.

"We are saying men must stop policing our bodies, they must stop policing how many partners we have…these bodies are ours and we are going to do whatever we like with our bodies ...even when I am naked, NO means NO,” Mhlongo said.

The firebrand leader said even husbands must know that "No means No".

She said the fact that a man married a woman or paid lobola for her does not give him a right over her body.

Mhlongo pleaded with parents to stop teaching their girl children how to avoid being raped but instead teach their boy children how to carry themselves and how to respect women.

The women, carrying placards with messages such as “My body, My rules”, “My body is not a Crime Scene” and “Stop Violence against Women and Children”, have begun making their way to the Union Buildings where a memorandum of demands would be submitted to government.

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