How do you raise the voices of young women against violence? By providing a platform for their concerns to be raised.
The Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication recently hosted a well attended panel discussion featuring Rise Young Women’s Club members Unathi Maphipha, and Thakane Mashala, #IAmOneInThree student activist Tshepiso Maleswane and Wits University student activist Simamkele Dlakavu.
Maleswane said even though there were a number of programmes addressing rape, those campaigns do not live long on the ground. “We live in a country where issues of rape are not taken seriously and the legal system is failing young women, rape cases are not given adequate responses,” said Maleswane.
Dlakavu explained that she was raped as a young girl but because of the rape not being taken seriously she eventually dropped the case. “The shame and humiliation experienced by young women causes many not to report rape cases,” Dlakavu said
The Rise Young Women’s Clubs aim to mobilise and empower young women to participate in taking responsible action to shape their lives and the communities they live in. “I am very grateful of the rise club as it has allowed us young women to speak out about rape and abuse experienced by other women,” said Maphipha.
Rise Club member Thakane Mashala explained that through the Rise Club programmes sexual violence cases are attended to through interventions of support groups and this allows young women to speak up and be united against acts of rape against women.
Attendees of the discussion pointed out that breaking the silence of rape is important and collective approach is needed from everyone.