A Silent Protest for Grahamstown
Every year Rhodes University holds what has come to be known as the Silent Protest—the largest anti-rape and sexual violence protest held in South Africa. Over the past 8 years, the Silent Protest has predominantly focused on Rhodes University students and, more recently, members of staff. However, Rhodes University does not exist in a vacuum; we are part of a larger community. Moreover, rape and sexual violence are problems that affect us all and, insofar as they are underpinned by hetero-patriarchal norms, beliefs and values, cut across lines of race, class, sexuality, religion, nationality, and so on. For both of these reasons the focus of the Silent Protest must zoom out from Rhodes University and instead cover the entire Grahamstown community, of which Rhodes University is just a small part.
The Silent Protest planning committee therefore invites anyone living within the broader Grahamstown community to participate in the annual Silent Protest on the 7th August 2015.
You can participate as any one of the following:
1. Silent Protestor: Anyone can choose to participate in this category. Silent protesters have their mouths taped shut from 7am to 5:30pm embodying, offering a visual image of, and challenging the silence surrounding, rape and sexual violence.
2. Solidarity Protester: These protestors are not taped on the day. They stand in solidarity with women and men who are silenced by rape and sexual violence. They choose to speak out and engage others on the stigma, victimization and silencing of survivors of rape and sexual violence. We encourage solidarity protestors to talk about and challenge the ideas and practices which support rape culture and to support their friends and colleagues who are wearing the silent or survivor shirts.
3. Rape Survivor: Any survivor of rape, incest or child sexual abuse can wear the shirt, if they want to self-identify as a rape survivor.
4. Survivor: Any person who has experienced sexual violation of any form but would not call it rape and would not feel comfortable wearing a rape survivor t-shirt can choose to participate as a survivor.
If you are a member of the broader Grahamstown community but are not a student at Rhodes or a member of Rhodes University staff and would like to sign up to participate in the Silent Protest you can sign up online at: http://goo.gl/forms/1UE3AABu2Y or you can visit the Raphael Centre, St Mary’s DCC, or FAMSA to sign up in person.
Your shirt will cost you R60, which you can either (1) pay in cash when you sign up at the community partners mentioned above or (2) pay at Alec Mullins Hall on the morning of the protest when all protesters gather.
For more information please continue to browse our website or contact Lindsay Kelland at firstname.lastname@example.org