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Anti-Rape Activist Uses Instagram After Sexual Assault: BUST Interview

amber amour insta 

Anti-rape activist Amber Amour posted a picture of herself on Instagram minutes after she was raped by an acquaintance in a hotel room in Cape Town, South Africa in Nov. 2015.

She sat in the shower, tears streaming down her face, knees against her chest as she detailed the rape to her followers,

“As soon as I got in the bathroom, he forced me to my knees. I said 'stop!' but he just got more violent. He lifted me up and put his penis in my vagina. I asked him to stop, again, as I began to cry. When he shoved it in my ass, that's when I passed out. I woke up a few minutes later and saw him trying to creep out the door. When he saw that I was awake, he came back to finish me off in the shower.”

Amber the Activist

As an advocate for rape survivors, Amber told BUST that live-blogging on Instagram felt like the right thing to do. “It was pure intuition that told me, capture this. Write in detail what happened. Don't be afraid.”

By vocalizing the assault, Amber crushed the culture of silence and shame that is pushed upon rape survivors. RAINN estimates that 68 percent of rapes are not reported and 98 percent of rapists never spend a day in prison.

“There is no way I could stay silent because speaking up to friends, family, or to the cops, is the very thing I stand for. I knew that I had to be a leader and tell the world, even the parts of the story that I wanted to keep to myself,” Amber said.

After the attack, she kept her followers up-to-date by detailing the steps she took as she went to the hospital for a rape kit examination and reported the attack to local police.

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Despite the positive feedback from supporters on Instagram, some users posted violently misogynistic victim-blaming comments:

You the dumbest bitch I know you make women look bad . go to hell !!!” said user pruttylaladyy.
 
sahar14376 wrote: “Pretty fake story or you're basically just asked for it , it's not that easy to change the evil drunk world.”

krenshaw_db decided explicit violence was appropriate:You hairy snatch cuntbag. You did all of this just to further your sick, twisted feminazi ideology. I wish they would hang you by your hairy cunt.”

“The reactions to my rape & all the victim-blaming that I received made me realize that although it feels like I've accomplished a lot, this is only just the beginning. We have a long way to go in changing mentalities,” Amber said. 

Despite reporting the rape to the authorities in Cape Town, Amber said that the process has been slow and frustrating.

“One month later they had not even interrogated the guy, I had to consistently call them and finally they did so. Last I heard was that although he denied the allegations, he was still arrested on Jan 1 and posted bail for 1000 South African Rand, the equivalent of about $75. The case has been postponed to several months from now so I'm going to let the courts do their job although I can't say that I truly believe that justice will be served.”

Amber’s activism against rape culture began in New York City after being assaulted by her roommate a few years ago.

“The man who raped me confessed, but the NYPD threw out the case saying that they needed more evidence.”

She began the hashtag #StopRapeEducate because she wanted to see change, but she needed to take a more active approach to helping other survivors and healing her own wounds.

“This past year, we've been focusing on education and prevention but since I was sexually assaulted during the #StopRapeEducate World Tour in South Africa, we are phasing into a new teachings, particularly self-love and healing.”

Amber’s more recent posts have been chronicling her journey as she reclaims her body. Some of her posts include pictures of her skinny dipping as she explains to followers that nudity never equals consent:

“This proves the point that clothing/nudity do not cause rape, only rapists do!! The man who attacked me would have done so regardless. I didn't even take my clothes off to take the shower, he destroyed them leaving them bloodied.” 

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This month, #StopRapeEducate has evolved into @CreatingConsentCulture. Amber explained that her mother always said, “focus on the solution, not the problem.”

“You will get MUCH farther in life by spending time with people who have the same values as you than by trying to convert others. This is not a passive act. We must demonstrate the change we want in the work by leading by example. Sometimes you need to ignore the negativity and just lead.”

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Lara Michele Witt is intersectional feminist and freelance writer who covers social justice issues and anything that disrupts the patriarchy. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @femmefeministe.

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