Young activists against gender based violence are taking their call to the streets outside the Pretoria magistrate court. They are staging a silent protest to raise awareness on the plights women face in South Africa. They are also calling on the justice system to do more to protect victims of rape in the country. This silent protest comes as the 16 days of Activism Against the Abuse of Women and Children takes place.
Leading the protest is Zulaikha Patel, a 16-year-old activist from the Pretoria High school for Girls.
“We are here today on 16 days of activism under the #HearUsOut, and also to lend support and share our opinions and views, and to support the #ThisIsNotGlobalConsent ….And we’re here to make a statement that rape can never be the victim’s fault under any circumstances, and we want a justice system that’s going to protect and defend victims such as Cheryl Zondi.”
Patel also says their silent protest is also a way of education to communities.
“We hoping the people that have read our slogans take this information to their communities and educate their masses because we feel that it shouldn’t only be 16 days of activism, but 365 days because gender based violence doesn’t only occur at a certain time, it occurs throughout the year. We need to continuously educate each other, continuously take action to fight this cancer in our society.”
Fundiswa Nteyi of the #TotalShutDown movement says they are supporting the high school learners.
“As the movement we are standing with these children to say enough is enough. We are tired of victim blaming, we are tired of the humiliation that victims go through in court because of being raped. We as #TotalShutDown we are saying it should not just be 16 days of activism, it should be 365.”
The girls initially said they will protest naked, but the movement put a stop to that.
“We here to protect these children. We will not let them be naked. We won’t allow it. Everybody will be here to support and say no they should not be naked.”
Most people in the streets support the protests. – Additional reporting by Clement Mahlangu.