Dear colleagues and students
I am writing to encourage you to participate in an event that will help bring public attention to a tragedy that diminishes our humanity every day. The South African Police Service data for March 2017 shows that rape statistics are double the country’s murder rate, which equates to a rape occurring every 13 minutes. South African government crime statistics confirm that more than 50 000 rapes are reported in the country every year. These numbers are unacceptable.
On Tuesday, 29 August 2017, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) will be hosting a day-long Silent Protest at the University of Cape Town (UCT). This protest is being organised in collaboration with the UCT Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and UCT Survivors. The Silent Protest was started in 2007 to highlight the epidemic of gender-based violence in South Africa and to publicly demonstrate solidarity with survivors.
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The Silent Protest will affirm our solidarity with survivors who have been silenced by sexual violence and rape culture. Rape is a gross human rights violation. From lunch time onwards the UCT community will gather together in solidarity to break the silence and to share stories of violation and survival, to support one another, and to call for an end to sexual violence and the improvement of services to those who have been affected by it.
It is important that as many of us as possible participate in this event. As a campus community, we have a responsibility to help keep one another safe from these offences. As South Africans, we have a responsibility to end rape culture.
This protest will call on tertiary institutions and the government to uphold the law of the land and to ensure that all rape survivors have access to legal recourse, medical care and post-exposure prophylaxis, without shaming or delays. Until we achieve those goals, survivors will remain silenced and unsupported. Along with the AHF, SART and UCT Survivors, I urge you to stand with us and to help us create a world where all people are truly equal and can live without fear of sexual violence or the shame of reporting it.
Dr Max Price
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