Model and surfer Roxy Louw (32) says she’s finally found the courage to talk about the sexual harassment she’s recently been subjected to on social media.
Someone sent her a Facebook message saying, “Can I rape you?”
“In all honestly, I didn’t want to feed the monster that sent the message to me,” she tells YOU. “But with the recent happenings, I just realised that enough is enough and men like that should be exposed.”
In the past few days, women all over the country have been speaking up and protesting against the violence, murder and sexual assault that women and children have to endure in SA daily.
Roxy, who’s the daughter of Springbok legend Rob Louw, shared the Facebook message with her 21 000 Instagram followers.
“I did this for all the girls who are scared to speak up,” she says about her decision to talk about the awful experience. “But now with the strength of the nation growing, I feel like I’m not alone and we as woman can stand together and put this to an end.”
She says she often received inappropriate messages and that social media has made it easier for strangers to contact her. “But I’ve never received a message that was so explicit,” she adds.
“When that message appeared on my phone, my heart stopped. I couldn’t believe what I was reading . . . I started looking around. I felt scared and vulnerable, like someone had entered the room,” she recalls.
But she says she’s learnt that some men get a kick from how women react. “The more response and fear they feel, the more power [men] get. I was also afraid for my life. I didn’t want him to know that he freaked me out and scared me. That would’ve just given him the response he wanted and the false sense of power he craves.”
That’s why she decided to ignore the message. “I pretended it didn’t happen and that it didn’t affect me. I decided to just carry on. But that was a mistake,” she says in hindsight.
For two weeks, she couldn’t leave the house without her fiancé, Sam Barton (31), by her side.
That’s why she’s calling on all South Africans to come together and draw a line. She wants women and children to speak up and encourages men to stand up and protect women.
“How many women get these kinds of messages? How many girls go on with their lives, pretending as if this type of behaviour is normal?” she asks.
“And most importantly, what does a message like that lead to? How many women are harassed daily? Where do we draw the line?
“Speak up, ladies! Your voice may be only one voice, but you have an army of millions behind you. This country is standing together on this one! You’ll be heard.”