On Friday 15 April over 1200 1in9 Campaign volunteers, both women and men, will participate in the 5th annual ‘Sexual Violence = Silence’ Protest. The protest, organised by the 1in9 Campaign in conjunction with the Rhodes University Dean of Students Office, aims to show solidarity with rape survivors who are silenced by sexual violence. Both staff and students have participated in previous years and this year several members of the university’s senior management will be taking part for the first time.
DETAILS OF THE PROTEST:
15 April from 06h00 – 23h00
Great Hall, Rhodes University, Prince Alfred Street, Grahamstown, Eastern Cape
BACKGROUND ON THE PROTEST:
For the past 5 years student activists at Rhodes University, led by the 1in9 Campaign, have staged this protest in order to draw public attention to rape and to demand better services for survivors. Government crime statistics reveal that 72 500 women are raped in SA annually. Of these only 4% are successfully prosecuted and less than half of 1% of perpetrators will serve any jail-time. The 1 in 9 statistic, also the name of the Campaign, is derived from research conducted by the Medical Research Council in 2005 that focused on reporting and non-reporting of rape survivors. These statistics translate to approximately 650 000 rapes annually.
These numbers are unacceptable. Rape limits human potential; it silences people, makes them feel less than human, keeps them afraid and creates isolation. Our protest on the 15th of April affirms our solidarity with the 8 in 9 women silenced by rape and sexual violence. Freedom of Speech is denied to victims of sexual violence. Despite the laws and policies that have been put in place, patriarchal attitudes and misogynist practice render laws and policies meaningless in the lives of many rape survivors. Survivors face victim-blaming, secondary victimisation and social stigma when they speak out about the violence they have experienced. State service providers do not always respect the rights of rape survivors and fail to comply with norms and standards set out in national legislation and policy; these are just some of the reasons why reporting of rape cases remains low.
PURPOSE OF THE PROTEST:
- to highlight the state’s silence around sexual violence and its inability or unwillingness to support rape survivors and successfully prosecute rapists.
- to symbolise all rape survivors whose voices are silenced by rape and to represent the 8 in 9 rape survivors who do not report their violation.
FORMAT OF THE PROTEST:
There are FOUR different kinds of participation in the day-long protest on 15 April:
- Silent women: T-shirts with ‘sexual violence causes silence’ on the front & explanation on the back (gagged all day, no food or water)
- Rape survivors: T-shirts with ‘rape survivor’ on the front & explanation on the back
- Men in solidarity: T-shirts with ‘solidarity with women who speak out’ on the front & explanation on the back
- Women staff members & students with health issues: T-shirts with ‘solidarity with women who speak out’ on the front & explanation on the back
06h00 Gather at Great Hall on Friday 15 April.
06h00 – 07h00 T-shirt distribution
07h00 – 07h15 Briefing and address by organiser
07h15 – 07h45 SILENCING
07h45 – 08h15 Group photos in front of Main Admin of ALL, then SILENCED, SURVIVORS and MEN IN SOLIDARITY.
08h30 – 12h30 Lectures & tutorials as usual. Protesters to remain visible.
12h30 – 14h00 DIE-IN outside the library in the Quad. ALL (silenced, survivors & men is solidarity) PROTESTERS GATHER.
14h00 – 17h00 Lectures & tutorials as usual.
17h00 – 17h30 ALL volunteers gather outside Main Admin and process from via Drostdy Arch down High Street to the Cathedral
17h30 ADDRESS BY ORGANISER & BREAKING THE SILENCE!
17h30 – 19h00 Debriefing, discussion & reflection
19h00 – 19h30 GAP ‘Take Back the Night’ March
19h30 Supper at the Great Hall
20h30 Breaking the Silence concert at the Great Hall
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Rhodes Student Services Officer
1in9 National Steering Committee Member
The One in Nine Campaign, founded during the Jacob Zuma rape trial in 2006, aims to mobilise support for survivors of sexual violence; to educate and change attitudes about sexual violence and to monitor the criminal justice system and court processes in rape cases. Members of the Campaign include: AIDS Legal Network, Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, Engender Health SA, Forum for the Empowerment of Women, Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre, OUT, People Opposing Women Abuse, Rape Crisis, Rhodes University, South African NGO Coalition, Sonke Gender Justice, Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme and the Treatment Action Campaign. For more information visit www.oneinnine.org.za