Silent protest against gender-based violence

2018-09-19 06:00
Students remembering those who lost their lives through gender-based violence.PHOTO: LETHIWE MAKHANYA

Students remembering those who lost their lives through gender-based violence.PHOTO: LETHIWE MAKHANYA

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UNIVERSITY of KwaZulu-Natal students came together with other volunteers and organisers last Thursday to hold a silent protest against rape and gender-based violence.

The students and organisers from Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) used black tape to close their mouth in a symbolic gesture.

Larissa Klazinga, who is the AHF policy and advocacy manager, was one of the co-ordinators of this silent protest. She said they believe that unless a way is found to break the circle of violence in this country, the war on Aids will never be won.

Klazinga said they held the silent protest because in an attempt to raise awareness to assist victims of gender-based violence.

“It (gender-based violence) does not only affect the person who is violated but it also affects the people around them. It sometimes makes the survivor less able to interact with their communities, it makes them withdraw from their lives to some extent, and it takes away their freedom of movement, freedom of association and their freedom of speech.

“ Rape is something that is not easy to report because the road to justice is long. An average rape case is postponed 36 times and takes four years before a verdict is given,” she said.

She said sometimes people don’t report rape because they don’t want to remember the worst moments of their lives.

Klazinga said they are trying to acknowledge the reality, the experience of people who feel that they cannot report rape because they are afraid of the second victimisation and afraid of the stigma attached to it.

“We want to break the silence for these people so that there know that there are those who are going to believe them.”

The volunteers also held the remembrance service for all students who have lost their lives through gender-based violence.

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