12 February 2013

Dear Anene

As the editor of a South African newspaper recently poignantly lamented, you are my sister, my niece, my dearest friend, my colleague, my aunt, my neighbour, my boss, my mother, my makhulu, my teacher, my mentor. You are me. We know this because one in three women around the world will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. On Wednesday, 13 February a silent protest will be held on the steps of the St George’s Cathedral, Cape Town by Women Demand Dignity. Join us there between 12pm and 1pm to show your support for rape victims like Anene Booysen by bringing a placard or banner of a woman or girl who has suffered a similar fate (like Valencia Farmer who was brutally murdered in 1996).

If you’d like to join a global protest visit Onebillionrising.org – global strike that will take place on the 14th of February, on Valentine’s Day. Risings are being organised around the world as a call to men and women to demand an end to this violence. Anene, we are rising for you. We want to say stop the terror, we want to shout no more, enough is enough, we want an end to this horrifying rape culture. We need a police, political and criminal justice system that assists and serves rape survivors instead of further traumatizing them. And as equally important, we need a change in the way people think about rape – it is never her fault, she never asked for it, it is not about libidos and sex; sex is a tool used for violence, no means no. We will dance, we will strike and we will rise – for you.

Love, Marie Claire

Here’s another great petition to sign.

Follow us on marieclaire_sa; using #MCStopRape and tweet your support.

13 February 2013

Here are some pictures of the protest held at St George’s Cathedral, which we spoke about yesterday:

The Marie Claire team walking to the St George’s Cathedral.

A big turn out!

The Marie Claire team stands in silence, holding pictures of Anene Booysen.

School girls attended – roughly the same age as Anene.

A shocking statistic.

Was lovely to see so many men at the protest.


  • Anti-Rape Phone Apps

The question of how to effectively deal with the shocking culture of rape in South Africa continues to be a topic of debate, and while we work on teaching men not to rape, we can at least work on ways of protecting potential victims.

Technology, specifically cellphones and social media, may be of some assistance in this regard, with 29 million South Africans having access (more than TV, radio and PC users). The United States and India have already adopted this platform in the fight against rape, creating anti-rape cellphone applications.

In July 2011, the United States Department of Health and Human Services launched the ‘Apps Against Abuse’ challenge, calling on the public to submit apps designed towards preventing violent attacks on women. The winning apps were ‘Circle of 6’ and ‘On watch’, which enable users to alert emergency services as well as some of their personal contacts should they feel at risk. Their GPS location and messages such as ‘Come and get me. I need help getting home safely’ are sent out and a panic button is easily accessible.

In India, one in four rapes occur in New Delhi, a statistic that motivated a local NGO to develop the ‘Fight Back’ app. Similar to the American versions, this app sends an SOS text with a GPS location to five contacts, including the police, and also posts the message to Facebook and Twitter.

When one considers that SA has been named the ‘world rape capital’, it is surprising that we don’t yet have apps here specifically geared towards rape prevention and response. Anti-rape apps may not prevent all instances of rape, but they would create the possibility of arresting more perpetrators, responding to victims faster and ultimately making South African women feel a little safer.