By Jeanne Bodenstein
Have you ever wanted to attend a demonstration from the comfort of your own home? To be an arm chair activist without shame? We have the answer to your wish.
The end of the year is marked by Christmas lights in our local shopping malls, year-end functions and the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women. During the 16 Days of Activism, people from around the world find ways to actively express their discontent with the high rates of violence against women and sexual violence in particular. This is a chance for people to stand in solidarity with survivors of rape and other forms of sexual violence.
This year, the Rape Survivors’ Justice Campaign will use this opportunity to advocate for better support for survivors of rape and sexual violence in the courts. Specialised courts ensure that survivors are supported by specialised personnel, services and infrastructure with access to intermediaries and counselling support at moment of intense uncertainty and fear. Research has shown that this court model increases conviction rate in rape cases as well as reducing secondary trauma to survivors by making sure the support is there when needed most.
Our government has planned and budgeted for the rollout of these courtrooms. Our campaign intends to hold them accountable for doing so.
You can help us by supporting our actions during the 16 Days. We will host a community workshop to raise awareness and share information about these courts and about our campaign. This will be followed by a demonstration to demand a sexual offences courtroom to be established at Khayelitsha Regional Court.
We need your support.
You can get involved by donating to our campaign and with your contribution we will create placards to use at the public demonstration out side Khayelitsha Court with the following messages:
“Sexual offences courts now”
“We need the right criminal justice system”
“Access to justice”
“Support in every court”
“Better support for survivors”
“Justice for all rape survivors now!”
With your support we will also hand over this memorandum to the Deputy Minister of Justice and to the Khayelitsha Court manager to demand a sexual offences courtroom to serve the community of Khayelitsha.
If you would like to support us by joining us at the public demonstration, please like our Facebook page to be informed of the details of the event. Join us to demand better justice for all survivors.
Jeanne Bodenstein is the coordinator of the Rape Survivors’ Justice Campaign.