Jen Thorpe

Rape is not…

Rape is not something that can be avoided by good behaviour. Rape is not something that is brought about by a woman’s “bad” behaviour. Rape is something that a rapist chose to do. Rape can happen to anyone. The only person responsible for a rape is a rapist.   Rape is not your fault. Rape…

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The necessity of dissent

I watched a movie a while back about a communist Russia where comrades were required to denounce one another in order to get ahead. If everyone was denouncing someone, you had to get on the bandwagon, lest you were next. Dissent was not allowed, at least not in the communism this movie chose to portray….

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It is quite possible for women to have sex and get a degree

I saw an article today that I found extremely worrying. It suggested that 16 bursaries were awarded to female matriculants who underwent a virginity test, and passed. In order to keep these “maiden” bursaries, the women must “remain pure” and undergo regular testing throughout their undergraduate degree. These bursaries are premised on the idea that…

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20 000 women, for nothing?

Twenty thousand women marched in 1956 and changed the world. We celebrate them this month. They are certainly worthy. **** Some time ago, I went for an interview. When asked by the panel why I wanted to leave the job I was in at the time, I responded that I was tired of the institutional…

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Department of Women should support, not criticise women

Today a tweet was sent by the Department of Women. The question it asked was: ‘What should be done with women who press charges then later withdraw them?’ This very short blog post will unpack why that language is problematic, and does not, as the department later suggested, promote debate. It also provides some answers…

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The female state of the nation 2015

This state of the nation is one that asks you, for a few moments, to consider some information about the majority of South Africans. Some information about the biggest population group that is not a racial or religious group. This state of the nation asks “what is the problem” and “what can we do next”….

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Harfield Village: The bold and the befok

I moved to Harfield Village in April last year. For a little village that basically lies between two roads (Imam Haron and Kenilworth Road) this place has a lot of issues. During the time I’ve lived here I’ve witnessed two domestic violence assaults in the street while others walked by. The first, described here, was…

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A deep dip in everyday racism/sexism/classism/etc

Cape Town swimming coach Tim Osrin was arrested last week when he allegedly beat up a middle-aged domestic worker, Cynthia Joni, in the middle of the day without the two ever having said anything to one another. Osrin was driving his car along a road, saw Joni, and stopped his car to beat her up….

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Like every other day of my life, this morning I woke up female

Once I was a girl, then I was somewhere in between, and now I am an adult woman. What that means for me is not the same as it is for other women. We can know our similarities and differences, but we cannot know any other life as intimately and honestly as we know our…

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An ordinary evening

On a Thursday evening not so long ago I decided to stop by Woolies on the way home. I got off the train earlier, got some groceries, and undertook the walk from Claremont to my house in Harfield. I had underestimated the weather. It was howling with wind and I spent most of the journey…

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