Will naked protests save South African women?

Naked protests have become a popular tool to advance the plight of women who are victims of sexual crimes – but just how effective are they in sparking the intended conversation?

In November, when Phindile Nkumah stood before President Cyril Ramaphosa and removed her clothes, it was an emotional moment that hammered home the reality of the physical scars of sexual abuse – and that recovery is a lifelong struggle. 

Nkumah spoke at the Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Summit in Tswane, where women shared stories of abuse at the hands of men.

SowetanLIVE reported that Nkumah was raped by a gang of eight men, who told her they would get away with it – and they did, for five years, before they were eventually convicted and sentenced.

Their conviction was of little comfort to Nkumah, who has had to undergo five surgical procedures to repair the physical damage done to her body by the rapists. One operation was to extract plastic that had been shoved into her by the men.

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