Walk the Walk: Sindile Vabaza on a Shift in Mindset

In this country, many men and women are not fully acclimated to the idea that a woman’s body is her own. Sindile Vabaza looks at how and why we need to change that.


Image source: https://namelessintaipei.com/2016/10/06/talk-is-cheap/walk-the-talk/

Image source: https://namelessintaipei.com/2016/10/06/talk-is-cheap/walk-the-talk/


Trigger Warning: Rape, Sexual Assault


I remember one December, a couple of years ago, when I was on varsity holiday I had been chatting up a young woman at a bar in Margate.

Everyone I knew saw our cosiness, everyone saw us leave at some point in the night and disappear down to the beach to do what people do at the beach under the cover of darkness.

Many people saw us return and resume our cosiness.

Then we were together again at a house party my friend was hosting and again people saw our cosiness.

At some point in the night, I took her by the hand and we went into the bathroom and as I was kissing her and feeling her up she told me she’d scream if I did anything.

Nobody would’ve heard her because the music was so loud…………

I have reflected on that night many times since then and have realised that many of us, both men and women in this country are not fully acclimated to the idea that a woman’s body is her own.

If I had decided to rape her I would have had plausible deniability as I suspect many young men who have raped women whom they’ve had prior intimacy with.

I suspect this is often what happens to many young women in varsities who go back to a young man’s room, perhaps start kissing but ultimately decide they don’t want to have sex.

The guy just pushes on and rapes her and sometimes, more often than we’d care to admit, her own friends don’t believe her because of prior intimacy.

There’s even a word for it:

Cock tease.

It has all the implications of a trope that is used to disempower a woman of her sense of bodily autonomy and even so, even if it were true, it still wouldn’t matter because a woman’s body is her own and she can at any moment say she doesn’t want anyone or anything inside her own body.

It is essentially a clever trope, a trope in which we can blame victims, a slightly more acceptable way (at least in our society) of saying she was wearing a short skirt and she was tempting us.

This is frighteningly pervasive.

I read about a study recently in which virtual reality was used to highlight to men how vulnerable women can often feel in a sexual encounter by allowing men to experience it from the perspective of a woman, from the perspective of the one being penetrated.

Men reported feeling an almost excruciating vulnerability and perhaps that is where the conversation must start:

Not us telling young men not to rape, but us telling and teaching young men about what mutually satisfactory sex looks like:

About making a woman feel safe, about checking in, about learning what pleases a woman.

Sometimes our materialistic culture can get stuck on technique and forget that sex in many ways can be a deeply transcendent experience especially when you love someone.

Perhaps for us, it is to not teach young women about avoidance techniques but about self-love, what it looks like to communicate what makes your body feel good, what it means to know your body and love it.

It seems to me that our problem is that we focus on the base stuff, mere physicality if you will, when the world of sex, of good and healthy and mutually enjoyable sex, is so much wider and more interesting than anything we are currently doing now.

Perhaps then young men wouldn’t be so eager to have an almost imperialist mindset where they need to conquer every female body in sight to prove some kind of masculine power and dominance.

One Response to “Walk the Walk: Sindile Vabaza on a Shift in Mindset”
  1. Nokx says:

    Duuuuuuuude!! this…what a great read, thank you for writing this and I hope more people will see it. Love x Light

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