Campaign takes flight

Uga Carlini announces the #butterflyrevolution.

The #butterflyrevolution was launched online on Monday, August 1. It was inspired by the controversial 1999 “Real men don’t rape” campaign, by Rape Crisis and the Trauma Centre, which featured actress Charlize Theron.

“That advert was just our inspiration. The execution of our revolution is slightly different,” says Uga Carlini, a Fish Hoek resident and president of Towerkop Creations.

Director Uga is the heart and talent behind the award-winning movie, Alison, which tells the story of Alison Botha’s brutal attack. But she has become more than the director of the movie. She and Alison have become like sisters. And bearing witness to Alison’s life, and the countless women who have confessed their own experiences after hearing Alison speak – has prompted another reaction: the desire to inspire change.

Uga is leading this new revolution – a campaign launched specially to coincide with Women’s Day, which is marked on August 9, and awareness about women’s lives – from Fish Hoek. Uga approached famous South Africans in different sectors to become #butterflyrevolution ambassadors.

“The idea was to start with well-known faces, and to eventually open the platform to everyone, so that everyone can start sharing their contribution to the #butterflyrevolution. We want it to be taken up in the same way the ice bucket challenge was. We want to remind each other, inspire and ignite each other. We are speaking up about the dire situation of violence against women and children,” Uga says.

Rape Crisis notes that 53 617 sexual offences were reported in the 2015 crime stats: that is 147 cases a day. Those are just the reported cases, which make up one in nine rapes. Rape Crisis estimates that if all rapes were reported, the figures could be as high as 482 000. Rape Crisis said researchers have found that 12 times more women are raped and murdered in South Africa than in America. In South Africa, a woman is killed every six hours by an intimate partner.

In 2011, 55 percent of rape survivors had been raped by more than one offender: of these, 25 percent had been gang rapes, with the number of offenders ranging from two, to 30.

“Charlize wasn’t wrong, but things have gotten even worse since, and we want to know what the real men and real women of this country – of this world – are planning on doing about it. We have called this campaign, or revolution, what we did because, for us the butterfly is the symbol for femininity and change. Our revolution is about that butterfly effect: the scientific theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever. We do not doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. And as Margaret Mead said, indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has,” says Uga.

There is already a long list of big names signed up, such as Jack Parow, Elana Africa, Kim Engelbrecht Sandra Prinsloo, Victor Matfield, Roxy Burger and Alison Botha. Uga is inviting you to add yours.

In 1994, two men abducted Alison outside her home, raped her, stabbed her 37 times and disembowelled her, before slashing her throat and leaving her for dead. Alison’s steadfast refusal to give her attackers the satisfaction of destroying her life spurred her survival. The movie about her story is a riveting drama. Her recently re-released book, I Have Life was first published in 1998 and has remained on the Penguin SA best seller’s list. Alison has made it her mission to bring hope to others by sharing her story.

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