Again we have outrage at the rape and brutal murder of another South African girl. And while I’m tired of meaningless outrage, I understand many people just don’t know what they can do to help fight rape.
I tweeted these 10 what-you-can-do’s a few weeks ago under the hashtag #speakoutSA. I’ve collated them here, so that those that really care have direction about what they can do. This is by no means a complete list. If you have any suggestions to add, please drop them in the comments. Get the conversation going.
Take action to fight rape. It’s in your power. In memory of Anene Booysen and all the unnamed victims of sexual violence. RIP.
- Teach the girl children in your life that it is never their fault. Ever.
- Teach the boy children in your life that they have no right to anyone else’s body. Teach them to be vulnerable. Teach them about enthusiastic consent.
- You know a survivor. You might not know it, but you do. Stand with them by standing against sexism, misogyny and rape jokes.
- If a survivor confides in you, don’t victim-blame or slut-shame hir*. Tell hir it wasn’t hir fault. Support hir. Remember that survivors’ responses to rape are complex, and may not be what you expect. Be patient. Love openly.
- If you are a survivor and can speak out without risking your physical or emotional well-being, please speak out. Silent survivors are always listening. We need to hear your voices to remind us that we aren’t alone. That someone understands. That someone is fighting.
- Familiarise yourself with the correct protocols to report a rape. Should you or a friend or family member be raped, you want to be empowered to make the decision to report the rape. Know your rights. Fight for them.
- Find out where your local rape clinic or crisis centre is based. They are usually tied to the police. Go to your local cop shop and ask.
- If you know where a rape crisis centre is, volunteer to assist them. Filing, volunteer counselling, whatever. Anything helps.
- Donate to your local rape crisis centre. Clothing is always needed, as rape survivors’ clothes are taken for evidence, especially underwear. Donate toys for the kids.
- Don’t let it go. If someone engages in victim-blaming or slut-shaming, sexism or misogyny, call them out on their shit. Silent survivors are always listening. We thank you for fighting where and when we can’t.
*hir is a gender neutral pronoun.