Amber Amour, an anti-rape activist, continues to face backlash after she live-blogged her rape moments after the attack. Her critics said she brought it upon herself when she decided to shower with the man who assaulted her. She on the other hand said no matter what a woman does “it is not an invitation for rape.”
Amour was from New York and had been deeply engaged in chalk art writing as means of speaking out against rape. She had been organizing events and art therapy sessions in the city. She had more than 5,000 social media followers. Majority of them requested for her to take the campaign in South Africa.
So in November 2015 she was finally in South Africa for her cause. But on her 22nd day she was raped by a man inside a shower. She passed out during the ordeal. When she woke up, she decided to “live-blog” the traumatic experience.
In an Instagram post on Nov 22, Amour said she had been sick for days and felt relieve to be offered a hot shower by her then would-be rapist. “Shakir followed me upstairs and said he was going to take a shower. He invited me to join. I said yes because the water at my current hostel is pretty cold and after 2 days of being sick, I just really wanted a hot shower,” she wrote in the caption of a photo taken after the assault. She posted three photos of the ordeal: one was when she was still sitting in the bathroom floor where she was assaulted, another while lying on the hospital bed and another showing her rape kit.
Backlash followed as some netizens blamed her for putting herself in the situation. A majority of her critics questioned her decision to join the man in the shower. Amour argued: “No matter what a person does, it is not an invitation for rape. It doesn’t matter if I kissed him. It doesn’t matter if he was drunk. It doesn’t matter if I said yes to a shower. I never said he could get violent with me. I never said he could make me bleed. I never said he could rape me.” She wrote that the police whom she reported the accident asked her again and again if she was sure that her rapist understood that she actually meant no. “Dealing with rape is hard enough but the aftermath is often even more traumatic,” Amour wrote.
After more than a month, Amour continues to receive backlash from people. Speaking with Marie Claire, she explained why she resorted in live-blogging her ordeal. Waking up after being rape, her immediate feeling was that she should not keep the incident as a secret she explained. “The first thing I did was take a picture and write a post, describing what had happened. It was almost an intuitive thing. I was still in the bathroom – in the crime scene. I don’t even think I’d stood up. I just typed and typed,” she told Marie Claire.
Amour shared that the first time she was raped was when she was 12 years old. The second time was when she was 17 years old. In 2014, she was also raped by her roommate in New York. In all the harrowing experiences, she could never forget how the authorities were seemingly dismissive of her complaints.
Amour vowed to continue her call for women who were raped to speak up against their rapists. “No man out there wants the reputation of being a rapist,” she said. Speaking up creates a sense of shame, but that shame should be “placed on those who are actually at fault. And that’s the way it should be,” Amour said.