NWU Vaal to stand in solidarity against rape culture
Members of the Vaal Triangle Campus community (NWU Vaal) will take to the street on 13 August 2014 in support of the Silent Protest campaign. The primary purpose of the Silent Protest campaign is to highlight and challenge the attitudes and practices which contribute to a culture of silence around sexual violence in South Africa. It is also aimed at creating awareness about sexual abuse and the support services available to victims.
On 13 August members of the Campus community will walk through the Campus in silence – some will even use black duct tape to shut their mouths, and will be unable to speak, eat or drink water for the duration of the protest action. Participants are also asked to wear purple.
According to the organisers of the event on the Campus, the Student Counselling and Development Department, it is hard to comprehend the extent of the problem since it cuts across age, race and socio-economic class. It is estimated that violence in intimate relationships is such a common occurrence in South Africa that it is normalised because, on average, a woman is raped every four minutes in the country. In fact, Interpol named South Africa as the world’s rape capital in 2013 by stating that women were more likely to be raped than educated. It is however not only women that fall prey to sexual violence and it is estimated that 1 en every 6 men will suffer the same fate.
“By taking part in the campaign we aim to unite the survivors, victims and supporters to protest against the silence of sexual abuse,” explains Dr Saneth Dreyer and adds that most survivors choose silence or are silenced when they try to speak up. Some survivors are silenced by fear of the perpetrator; may are afraid of not being believed, of being blamed and shunned, of being interrogated, traumatised, labelled or pitied.
What happens on the day of the Silent Protest?
Participants will gather in front of Building 12 from where they will march to the river bank (Big Lapa). Various speakers will then contribute towards the day’s programme, including: Maggie Matsaneng (Student Counselling and Development); Prem Coopoo (Dean of Students); Dr Hayley Walker-Williams (School of Behavioural Sciences) and Dr Saneth Dreyer (Student Counselling and Development). During the event special tribute will be paid to victims and survivors.
Staff and students are requested to register for the event and will be able to do so from 21 July to 12 August 2014. Registration takes place at Building 13, SL 331.