South Africa – Thousands of volunteers will participate in the 8th annual Silent Protest on 1 August, at the start of Women’s Month.
The protest, organised for the first time in Durban by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), in association with St Michael’s Lutheran Church, aims to highlight rape survivors’ right to Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) in order to prevent HIV sero-conversion.
The demand for greater access to PEP is in line with AHF’s 20×20 Campaign. Central to the protest is the public act of showing solidarity with rape survivors who are often silenced by sexual violence. The Silent Protest will also take place in Grahamstown and Johannesburg.
For the past eight years, activists have staged the Silent Protest in order to draw public attention to rape, educate the public about their right to PEP after rape and to demand better services for survivors. Government crime statistics reveal that 66 000 sexual assaults were reported in SA last year.
Of these, only 6.5 percent are successfully prosecuted and less than half of 1 percent of perpetrators will serve any jail-time. All studies agree that the vast majority of rape victims never report the crime to the police and there are many statistics available focusing on the ratio of reporting to non-reporting of rape survivors: the most conservative estimate comes from Rape Crisis (1 in 4) and the most shocking comes from the SAPS (1 in 25).
These statistics translate to anywhere from 260 000 to over 1.5 million rapes annually.
“The national protest on the 01 August affirms our solidarity with the millions silenced by rape and sexual violence,” said AHF Policy and Advocacy Manager, Larissa Klazinga.
“Survivors face victim-blaming, secondary victimisation and social stigma when they speak out about the violence they have experienced and often state service providers fail to respect the rights of survivors by not complying with norms and standards set out in national legislation and policy, specifically denying survivors PEP unless they report to the police.”
The event further aims toraise awareness around the epidemic of rape in South Africa, highlighting the silence around sexual violence and the state’s inability or unwillingness to support rape survivors, provide adequate healthcare including HIV services and access to justice.
The details of the silent protest are as follow:
- Date: 01 August from 6am to 5pm
- Durban: St Michael Lutheran Church, 43 Milne Street, Durban CBD, KwaZulu-Natal
- Grahamstown: Rhodes University, African Street, Grahamstown, Eastern Cape
- Johannesburg: WITS University, Braamfontein, Gauteng