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A while later, now drunk, they got into a car headed to a BP petrol station in Belleville, a Cape Town suburb. She noticed that girls were milling around the side of the road in short skirts, which she found odd. When they got out of the car, things became clear. She was 17 years old. Did she simply make an economically rational decision in response to her bad circumstances?
Or was she forced into a form of sexualized victimhood that seems all too common for women living under economic constraints? In certain provinces, more than three quarters of women report experiencing some form of sexual violence, including rape. Her story is less a depiction of what it means to be a prostitute today and more about how hard it is to avoid that life when there are few available alternatives.
Tall and slim with an almost regal posture, she dresses like Rihanna and has aspirations of being a model. Responsible and well mannered, Asanda always apologized when her chaotic life caused her to miss a scheduled interview. Buying a new cell phone with a SIM card for rand would be the difference between registering for school and supporting her brother next month, or not. Like may rape victims, Asanda was threatened by her rapist, who warned that if she told her father, he would side with the family, not her.