Activities (Real Men Don’t Rape Campaign) RMDR Campaign

In partnership with Rape Crisis, The Trauma Centre for the Survivors of Violence and Torture, The Jupiter Drawing Room and other advertising supporters this campaign kicked off in the year 2000 with a highly controversial series of advertisements with the South African born Oscar winner, Charlize Theron. Theron, who had come to South Africa to guest edit the Millennium issue of Femina magazine, not only narrated the advertisements but helped write the text and insisted that they also be filmed in Afrikaans. The two advertisements dealt with date rape and the apathy among average South African men regarding the rape pandemic. One of the ads was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority after a group of Sasol workers complained that they felt insulted and belittled by it. This turned the campaign into an international news item and various Cabinet Ministers, including Steve Tshwete, the then Minister of Safety and Security said that they felt uncomfortable travelling outside South Africa because of the questions they were asked about violence against women and children here.

The campaign was subsequently un-banned and television channels and radio stations doubled their screenings and airtime. Theron has subsequently received an award for the campaign, and the text of the advertisements has been used in Matric examination papers since 2005.

Romeo Khumalo was the first man to be prepared to put his weight behind the campaign.

The 2005 participant was Isidingo Actress and activist, Tinah Mnumzane, who went public in 2004 about her rape trauma, and has written and published a poetry book called Thakgoa. In one of the poems she vows to help other women avoid this curse, saying “I will fight to protect you even if it sends me to my grave.” WDD says that this represents a substantial rallying call to all South African women to stand together to help each other and be less passive and accepting of their oppression.

The 2007 participant was meant to be Zola7, South African Kwaito artist/singer and actor and host of his own reality TV show called Zola7. However, we withdrew the advert as some very disturbing evidence was presented to us indicating that Zola7 was not the ideal role model for our campaign.

The search continues for a suitable role-model to continue with this campaign.

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