Pretoria Girls anti-racism heroine to go naked in protest against woman bashing

Teenage activist Zulaikha Patel will lead a naked protest against gender-based violence on Friday.

Patel became popular when she was the face of the Stop Racism At Pretoria Girls High campaign when she was 13 years old in 2016. 

The Pretoria Girls High pupil was at the forefront of a movement against racism at the school as she demanded the right to wear her Afro hairstyle.

Now 16, Patel is fighting for a different cause.

She said: “The idea for the protest came about after a girl who was raped, committed suicide after the trial in the UK.”

Patel cited a growing social media campaign currently under way, with women publishing photos of their underwear after a recent case in Ireland during which a suspect was acquitted. The defence lawyer had cited the woman’s underwear, saying:  “You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.”

“We feel that the justice system and society are failing victims of gender-based violence, and we are standing in solidarity with the #ThisIsNotConsent campaign,” Patel told TimesLIVE. 

“Victims are continuously shamed. We therefore say, under no circumstances is rape the victim’s fault.”

She said she and the group of young women who will be joining her in the silent demonstration outside the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Friday, want to make a statement that rape is not anyone’s fault.

“We will not be completely naked. We will be sitting down and holding boards between our legs.”

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