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30 August 2011

Mogoeng Versus Sluts and Others

Mogoeng vs Sluts and Others
Posted on: 08-29-2011
Joining the dots between Judge Mogoeng, Slutwalkers and gay and lesbian people feels oddly uncomfortable. This discomfort has to do with what waits in the wings at the Constitutional Court should Mogoeng be appointed as Chief Justice. Some of Mogoeng’s past judgments and present associations are alarming to anyone committed to the ongoing struggles towards dignity, equality, and freedom for women and LGBT people. As active citizens we have a responsibility to ensure proper legal and social scrutiny of Mogoeng’s suitability to hold an office which is a key custodian of the Constitution.

In 2002, Mogoeng found that a man’s “girlfriend” had “provoked” him to tie her to the back of a car and drag her along a gravel road. This “provocation” was found by Mogoeng to be a mitigating factor in the accused’s actions, along with the fact that the woman did not suffer “serious injuries”. On the basis of this argument Mogoeng found that the initial two-year sentence was “too heavy, according to any standards”. Whose standards was Mogoeng upholding here? Certainly not the standard of “sluts”, aka women who claim their rights to bodily and sexual autonomy.

After a Canadian police officer reprimanded women to avoid dressing “like sluts” lest they be raped, SlutWalks erupted worldwide as a, spontaneous form of resistance to, among others, social discourses that blame women for the violence perpetrated against them by men. Slutwalk messages challenge the sexist mythologies that “how women behave” and “what they wear” justify violation of their bodies. In Mogoeng’s judgment in the aforementioned case, he used the notion of “women provoking male violence” to reduce the sentence.

Read the rest here.

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