#SpeakUp76: Every day I am faced with trauma of being objectified

Published Jun 16, 2019


For Youth Day we asked first-year journalism students from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology to write for us.

Here's what *Jane had to say:

Cape Town - Today will be the first time actually writing about the encounters I recently had regarding privacy and sexual abuse.

Since I can remember I've been objectified for the way I look. As a young girl, and I mean 12 years old type of young, boys of 17,18,19 sometimes even 20 would mistake my age for 16 or 17 due to how evolved my body structure was.

That was only guys trying to hit on me.

Most of my childhood from 7-10 I was sexually abused by my cousin. I'm not going to get into that just yet, it's just that I've been trying to move on but how can I if still today at 17 years old...I have similar encounters. 

Today I watched a guy follow me, walking hesitantly because I was trying to slow down and see whether he is following me or just strolling by. Instead he followed me all the way to my destination. I stopped to speak to someone I knew and to check whether he was going to turn back, stop or continue walking. Instead he looked like he didn't know where he was going and that was probably because that route was not his first intention. That's just one incident I've mentioned, there's so many I can tell you about.

A male staff member working at a clinic got hold of my confidential information and texted me inappropriately and nothing actually regarding medical issues or information. He literally said , and I quote " im a secret admirer" I didn't know how to react.

Every day I am faced with trauma whether the men following me reminds me of an uncle that used to watch me through my window or the reminder of how since I was little, it was indoctrinated in me that my worth was equal to their pleasure.

* Not her real name.

** Speak up like the youth of ‘76 by tweeting your opinions and challenges to the new @GovernmentZA's Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with  Disabilities: Minister Maite Emily Nkoana-Mashabane using #speakup76 @IOL or write to IOL at [email protected]

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