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#WEBELIEVEYOU

#‎Webeliveyou is a response that all survivors of rape should be met with on sharing their story of violation with a friend, colleague, legal practitioner, counselor, harassment officer, lecturer, tutor, employer etc. At present, the systems, channels and processes in place for reporting and obtaining the necessary support for survivors of rape are not as robust and as sensitive to the nature and reality of rape and sexual assault as they should be.  The burden to prove the intention to rape, falls at each stage of the process, on the survivor. This results, in instances where reporting has been attempted, in the re-traumatisation and secondary victimisation of the survivor. It also contributes to the low rate of reporting of incidences of rape.

This needs to change.

#Webelieveyou calls for systemic change that will result in the provision of effective support for survivors of rape and in increased rates of conviction of perpetrators of rape. To this end we will promote and campaign for:

  • A change in the lay and legal definition of rape. Rape should be understood as a violent and heinous crime and not as sex.
  • The better resourcing of units tasked with supporting rape survivors from the reporting, through legal procedures to the healing stages.
  • The better education of officials tasked with supporting rape survivors from the reporting, through legal procedures to the healing stages.
  • A change in the law so that the burden of proof of intention to rape does not fall with the victim and instead the burden of proof of consent falls with the accused.

#Webelieveyou therefore calls for an improvement of Rhodes University's and South Africa’s reporting and legal processes so that they are sensitive to the reality faced by survivors of rape. We should have a well-‌equipped and sensitized Police force, Justice System, Student Defense Councils and Proctors handling cases of rape.

#Webelieveyou seeks to be an inclusive space. We wish to complicate the discussions around rape, rape culture, sexuality, violence and masculinities. We're taking a stand against sexual violence in our community at Rhodes, in Grahamstown and in our country through activism, education, conversations, activities and events. We affirm the fact that rape is a form of violence and not a form of sex.

WE BELIEVE YOU! WE BELIEVE YOU! WE BELIEVE YOU!

Last Modified :Tue, 06 Sep 2016 12:36:43 SAST