Charlize Theron's banned 1999 anti-rape ad re-emerges

Twenty years later, actress Charlize Theron's words in a banned anti-rape advert are coming back to haunt South Africa.
Twenty years later, actress Charlize Theron's words in a banned anti-rape advert are coming back to haunt South Africa.
Image: Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Images

Charlize Theron's banned 1999 anti-rape advert has re-emerged and has been making waves on social media, following the recent deaths of South African women.

On Monday, the country came to a standstill after news broke that 19-year-old UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana had been raped and murdered after going missing for almost two weeks.

TimesLIVE reported that a 42-year-old man had allegedly confessed to killing Mrwetyana at the Clareinch post office, where he attacked, raped and killed her when she arrived to collect a parcel.

In the video, Theron can be heard saying, "people often ask me what the men are like in South Africa" before describing the country's shocking rape statistics.

"Well, if you consider the fact that more women are raped in SA than any other country in the world, that one out of three women will be raped in their lifetime in SA, that every 26 seconds a woman is raped in SA, and perhaps worst of all, that the rest of the men in SA seem to think that rape isn't their problem.

"It's not that easy to say what the men in South Africa are like because there seem to be so few of them out there," said Theron.

According to a 1999 report by  The Guardian, the SA Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned the advert because a men's group complained that it offended them. The publication said the group called "A Group of Concerned Men" said the advert "implied that all South African men were rapists".

ASA disagreed but banned the advert anyway on the grounds that it was "discriminatory on the basis of gender" because it criticised men as a group.

"This ad was saying that half of South Africa's men are rapists and the other half condone rape," said the authority's then chair Peter Vundla.

Reactions 

Those who caught on to the video reacted. Here is a snapshot:


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