THE THIRD ANNUAL SILENT PROTEST SPEAKS VOLUMES
Written by: Mfundo Knowledge Mthembu
Hundreds of silent protesters marched from the Durban University of Technology (DUT) to the Durban City Hall in hopes of raising awareness against sexual violence towards women and children.
The fundamental purpose and in-depth message behind the silent protest was to create cognisance over social ills affecting women and children. Vigorous discussions on matters of sexual health, gender based violence, women and children rape, HIV/AIDS education and awareness were dicussed.
“The silent protest is basically about highlighting the issue of gender based violence that we’ve seen in our communities. It’s a problem that everyone is aware of. However, this year we found out that more and more people now can finally put faces to the names and to the statistics,” said Student Counselling and Health (HIV Centre) Officer and Silent Protest Coordinator Malusi Dlamini.
Dlamini added that for them it was even more important this year to make the silent protest movement bigger and a far reaching project. One of the purposes of the silent protest is for the university to be vocal and to show that DUT students are critical members of society.
AHF Southern Africa Policy and Advocacy Manager, Larissa Klazinga, said, “What we are trying to do as an HIV organisation is help people understand that there is a clear connection between gender based violence and HIV,” said Klazinga.
“The most important thing we want them (students and society) to do is to break the silence. If they have been victims of sexual assault, we want them to report. We want them to be able to identify safe spaces where can they report. We want them to know that going to the HIV centre they will find allies. We want them to know that they have the right to post exposure prophylaxes. And we also want them to know that we believe them,” concluded Klazinga.
The silent protest was in partnership with the Durban University of Technology, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Mangosuthu University of Technology and the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
*Caption: Students at the third annual Silent Protest awareness campaign.