“Some Girls Like Superheroes”: Riley Knows What’s Up About Gender and Marketing

“Some Girls Like Superheroes”: Riley Knows What’s Up About Gender and Marketing


Fact File: Human Trafficking


In South Africa

An estimated 30 000 people are sold into prostitution in South Africa alone. The majority of these children who are trafficked are woman under the age of 18.  Studies have revealed that South Africa is one of the largest human trafficking hubs in the world. Thus we see an ever growing need to protect children living in South Africa from these crimes. One of the ways this can be done is through education and making the public aware of the ever increasing number of children who are taken each year.

Human trafficking includes:

Around The World

Human trafficking is the second largest and fastest international crime. Human trafficking has become known as “Modern Day Slaver”. There are over 27 million victims across the world. Thus slavery has become even larger than it was in the past. In addition, UNICEF estimates that more than 1.2 children are trafficked each year globally.

“Human trafficking is not only a dehumanizing crime, stealing away an individual’s dignity,but a myriad of other complex social and health issues surround it. For example, drug addiction can lead to an increase in crime and rape, ultimately contributing to the increase and spread of HIV.”

  • There are 1.2 Million children trafficked each year worldwide.
    1/2 of those children are African.
    Most trafficked victims are girls between 5 to 15 years of age.
    In South Africa there is no comprehensive law against human trafficking.


News24: Child trafficking case continues


Johannesburg – Five people accused of human trafficking and running a brothel where children were kept will appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

One of them, Sandile Patrick Zweni, was denied bail at his last court appearance because of previous convictions for assault, culpable homicide and possession of dagga.

His co-accused Nonduzo Dlamini, 23, and Bhabha Dubazini, 29, abandoned their bail applications before appearing in court.

The three were arrested with a fourth person when 24 girls, eight of them minors, were rescued from a building in Durban’s Point area.

Some of the girls were as young as 12, and some were allegedly under the influence of drugs.

The fourth person was released and charges were withdrawn.

Later, two more people, Dr Genchen Ragnath and his wife Ravina, were arrested in connection with the case and were released on bail of R30 000 each.

The five face charges of dealing in cocaine, human trafficking, keeping a brothel, and living off the earnings of prostitution.


“Strike a woman, strike a rock…”


“Strike a woman strike a rock” has become a popular saying among South Africans. Words one hears constantly repeated leading up to the 9 August, woman’s day celebration. A day which honours the national march of women who on this day in 1956 marched to petition against legislation that required coloured and black South African persons to carry the “pass”, special identification documents which curtailed an individual’s freedom of movement during apartheid.

These woman who proudly stood up for their human rights and fought so hard for equality would most like cringe in disgust if they overheard how the youth address females.

I bring this issue up mainly because as a society we have come to accept the derogatory words which we so often seen used in films, by music artists and the media. Words and phrases we have come to accept as normal and even use in our everyday life.

Soaking up the sun during lunch time on campus I could not help overhear a conversation which occurred between two people. The guy started by complaining about this girl who stood him up and went on to describe how much of a b*tch. He started explaining to his female friend how the girl smsed him explaining she was unable to meet up with as she had gone out and partied. Drank too much and had a serious hangover.

According to the way the conversation was going this warranted the girl to be labelled as a b*tch and other rather harsh words I care not to repeat. The conversation then took an interesting turn as the guy started talking about how he needed to get “laid this weekend” and how he could not find any “b*tchs to f*ck”

The female friend then suggested another girl he could hook up with but how she is crazy. She explained how this girl gets attached easily so he should just f*ck her and leave. The conversation continued like this for a while with derogatory words used in every sentence to describe these women. Who according to this guy and girl were woman who could easily be used and disposed of because they were labelled as “b*tches”.

al2446_0029I sat in morbid fascination and shock as I listened to this conversation unfolding. I was further surprised to find out this guy who spoke so “highly” of the female species was in fact a rape councilor.

One would assume that students studying towards a degree would choose their words they use carefully when referring to woman, especially considering South Africa’s high rate of violence towards woman. One would further assume that a rape councillor would be trained in various aspects of abuse and should be more conscious of the words they use towards woman.

This conversation got me thinking about the saying “strike a woman, strike a rock” but what about the derogatory words we use every day in our conversations and we see used in popular culture which slowly degrade and erode the essence of woman. Thus, making her into nothing more than a “b*tch”, an object that can be cut up into an object of pleasure or a place to vent ones frustrations.

Sex workers abused by police


According to a news article that appeared on News24 in Johannesburg approximately 70% of all sex workers have experienced some form of abuse by the police.

The study issued by the Sex Workers‘ Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat) stated , “The human rights abuse of sex workers in South Africa is alarming and demands immediate attention”.

In addition the Sex Workers’ Education and Advocacy Taskforce found during arrests made by police officers, majority of sex workers have been routinely beaten and sexually assaulted by the very people who were sworn to protect them

The Women’s Legal Centre based their study on 308 sex workers they interviewed, the majority living in Cape Town. These sex workers included men, transgender persons and woman.

“The report included first-person narratives from people who recounted being forced to perform oral sex or being gang-raped by police officers. They reported police officers assaulting them, often with pepper spray.”

The study revealed the police officers did not make themselves known by not wearing name tags when they committed these crimes.

The report reads, “Police officers commit these crimes with impunity. They remove their name tags so that sex workers are unable to identify them and they instil such fear in the sex workers that they are afraid to report these crimes to the authorities”.

It was found that police still made arbitrary arrestes even though in 2009 the Western Cape High Court declared that police were prohibited from arresting sex workers unless they were going to prosecute the sex worker.  “Of the sex workers interviewed, 138 said they had been arrested, but only 21 ever appeared in court.”

This is a clear violation of the right to defend oneself in court and not to be arbitrarily deprived of one’s freedom.”


The study further found that sex workers were being exploited for money by police officers. An incident occurred in Cape Town where police appeared at a sex worker’s flat and demanded money.

“Western Cape police spokesperson Captain Frederick Van Wyk said none of the allegations in the study had been reported to the police”.

“We urge anyone with information about these acts of behaviour by our police members to come forward and lay formal complaints to be investigated,” Van Wyk said.