Hit ’Em Where It Hurts: Togo Women Go on Sex Strike in Political Protest

Women vow to withhold physical intimacy to put pressure on country’s president to resign.

A sign spelling out the protest by the women of Togo recently, in an effort to combat the ruling regime. (Photo: Lincolnian via Flickr)

Call it the power of retention: Leaders of a female-powered civil rights group in Togo have called on the nation’s women to withhold sex for a week as a protest against the ruling government.

The “sex strike” is meant to put pressure on the nation’s men to put pressure on the regime by denying sex, a move championed by the “Let’s Save Togo” coalition, Voice of America reports.

MORE: Females in Biodiversity's Decision-Making Roles? About Time.

The small African nation has been embroiled in weeks of protests over electoral changes critics say were pushed through by the acting government. The country has been ruled by the same family for more than 40 years, according to the AFP.

The leader of the women’s wing of the opposition group said the idea of the no-justice no-sex activism was modeled after a similar protest during Liberia’s civil war. Colombia and Kenya are two more countries where women have resorted to similar actions aimed at political change or to push equal rights initiatives.

If the sex strike doesn’t work, the women may do a nude march later in the week to ramp up the pressure, so to speak.

Naked protesting is a time-honored form of sticking it to the man—or at least getting the man to notice whatever is painted across the protester’s buttocks. Case in point: A topless woman cutting down a cross with a chainsaw in defense of Pussy Riot.

Sex striking also pops up in the U.S. occasionally. A lawmaker in Virginia earlier this year said discussion of the state’s mandatory transvaginal ultrasound bill cost him an intimate evening with his wife. 

Will a physical intimacy timeout work in Togo? News from the country implies that the entrenched government will yield little in the face of the protests, no matter the outcry of the nation’s husbands. The country has some serious, troubling policies that will probably not be swayed by Let’s Save Togo’s sex-deprivation move.

Stories of abuse and human trafficking often make their way out of the country, including a UNICEF estimation that about 30 percent of the nation’s kids are put through some sort of harmful “economic and domestic” activities in their youth.

Point being that the place needs some reform. If nudity and/or the lack thereof is a step toward getting the job done, then fight on, ladies. 

Have the women of Togo gone too far, not far enough or just right? Leave your analysis in COMMENTS.

Comments ()