“MY BODY, MY CHOICE”
By: Nomvula Ndlovu
Hundreds of protesters staged the 8th Annual Silent Protest, which resumed at the Durban City Hall to St Michael’s Lutheran Church on Friday.
The protest raised awareness around the epidemic of rape in South Africa, highlighting the silence around sexual violence and rape survivors’ right to Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) in order to prevent HIV sero-conversion.
Protest organiser Larissa Klazingra from AHF said that the objective of the protest was to raise awareness about gender-based violence in South Africa and the link between gender-based violence and HIV.
She added, “A lot of women are sexually abused out there and only a minority of the abused women speak out. Today we want to give the voice to the voiceless and make people know that rape affects everyone and people need to take it seriously.”
AHF is the largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider in the USA. It currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 315,000 individuals in 34 countries worldwide including South Africa.
The protest also represented rape survivors who do not report their violation and can’t access health care services.
Survivor Brittany Pride expressed her enthusiasm about the protest and how AHF helped her over come her worst nightmare.
“I was violated in 2010 by a person that I trust at Rhodes University. It can happen to anyone at anytime, it is time we stand ground and say NO,” said Pride.
Members of the LoveLife community supported the protest and shared words of encouragement.
“ As the organisation we are here to say that we are willing to assist AHF in helping the helpless. We support the youth in a variety of ways and we will fight until gender based violence is taken seriously in this country,” said LoveLife representative Godfree Stimela.
Klazingra concluded that it was their first time hosting the protest in Durban and the turnout was overwhelming.
“We appreciate the support from all the various organisations and we are certain that Durban will host a bigger protest next year,” she said.