In a cruel twist of fate whilst touring with her anti-rape campaign in South Africa, often dubbed "the rape capital of the world", activist Amber Armour found herself confronted with the exact thing she was campaigning against. Amber says that she was attacked by a man named Shakir after she agreed to take a shower with him. She stated on her Instagram that she and Shakir has kissed once before, but on this occasion he seemed drunk and so she told him it was bad timing. As she went to speak to another of her friends in the hostel she was visiting, Shakir mentioned he was taking a shower and asked her to join. Tired of the cold shower at her own hostel making her sick, she said yes, just to have a hot shower. But, as soon as she was in the shower, Shakir forced himself upon her and raped her before she passed out.
Sadly this is not the first time Amber has experienced such sexual abuse. She was first sexually assaulted age 12. Then, at 24, she was sexually assaulted by her room mate in New York - an experience that tainted her feelings towards the police. In an interview with Marie Claire, she said: "I'll never forget calling 911 and reporting my assault - only for eight male officers to turn up at my door. I was like, 'OK, I said the rapist wasn't here, so I don't need eight of you, and at least send one woman, please?' I don't think they realised how traumatic it is for a survivor...One of the officers asked me if I was 'sure' that my rapist had known I meant no. 'Maybe he thought you meant yes,' he said."
Amber didn't find this to be satisfactory response to rape, so she took to the streets - literally. She began doing chalk art that spread her anti-rape message all over New York. Soon she began amassing a social media following of women who had faced similar troubles. This encouraged her to start organising events in order to educate men, women and children about rape: rape culture, victim blaming, slut shaming and so on. Soon, her campaign began taking her to different parts of the world on a tour, which is how she arrived in Cape Town around the halfway mark.
Soon after arriving, this terrible thing happened. But she knew that she simply couldn't keep this a secret: "Here I was, telling survivors every single day that they should speak up... I had to practice what I preached." And so the first thing Amber did was take a picture, a picture of her crying, and posted it on Instagram with a vivid description on what had just happened.
Amber receieved such strong support on social media she decided to go to the police. Following the first photo, she later posted a follow up of the rape kit being used on her in hospital, with another message which thanked some people and berated others who had attempted to shame her for agreeing to the shower. About a week after the attack, she Instagrammed screenshots of some of the abusive comments she had received in an attempt to highlight the culture of victim shaming.
These comments show exactly why we need a campaign like 'Stop Rape. Educate', in order to disperse the ignorance that currently surrounds sexual assault. She has also started a new campaign called "Creating Consent Culture" that she hopes will be mainstreamed by the end of this year. In the meantime we hope that Amber is able to continue her tour.
Are you a follower of Amber's 'Stop Rape. Educate' campaign? Let us know: @sofeminineUK
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