A campaign aimed to raise awareness and break the chain silence against rape and sexual violence was officially launched at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Friday, 28 August 2015.
The Zero Tolerance to Gender Based Violence campaign, a collaborative project between the University’s Student Affairs, Protection Services, Institutional Office of HIV/AIDS, Campus Health Services and the Student Representative Council (SRC), saw students and student societies signing a pledge in support of the Zero Tolerance to Gender Based Violence.
In partnership with Kwanele! Enuf is Enuf!, the initiative advocates a pro-active stand against rape and sexual violence, by developing active citizenship amongst students and staff.
The audience sat in rapt attention as Ms Andisiwe Kawa, the founder of the Kwanele! Enuf is Enuf! shared her experience of a gang rape to which she was subjected and how she overcame the challenges of that event, when she addressed the launch of the campaign. “This campaign is meant for every person who’s experienced or is experiencing rape or sexual violence. I think it is up to the citizens and communities of South Africa to stand up and work towards creating a safe and secure country for ourselves,” she urged.
Dr Rose Laka-Mathebula, the Executive Director for Student Affairs at the University echoed Ms Kawa sentiments. “Gender based violence and in particular sexual violence is a serious life threatening issue that primarily affect women and children. It is a grave human rights violation and a complex global problem. It is not specific to a particular country or region. We need to break the silence.”
In his address, Prof Ihron Rensburg, the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal affirmed that UJ will leave no stone unturned in inculcating the spirit of gender equality among all UJ students to ensure their safety. “The University is committed to journeying with our students, as they nurture the values and characteristics that will be essential so many ways to a deeper and enhanced freedom.”
Says Dr Corné Davis, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Strategic Communication, UJ: “It is encouraging to see the support for this campaign. It is time for us to literally break the silence. Silence implies consent. We need to start saying ‘Enuf!’.”
The GFEDV youth council based in London, UK, supported the event on twitter and participated in the event through live streaming.