Democratic Alliance Women’s Network (DAWN) launches rape rights DVD

Celeste Barker (MPL)

DAWN Provincial Chairperson

This is an extract of a speech delivered by Celeste Barker, MPL, at the launch of DAWN’s rape victims’ rights DVD in Port Elizabeth today.

Today, Human Rights Day, marks the closure of the international 16 Days of Activism Campaign against Gender Violence in South Africa.

As Eastern Cape DAWN has laboured to produce a “Rape Rights” DVD it is apt to mark the closure of this, the 16th 16 Days Campaign in South Africa, with the launch of a DVD that aims to give each DAWN member in our province the knowledge, skills and support she needs to protect her own rights and to defend the rights of all those who survive rape and gender violence.

It is no coincidence that Eastern Cape DAWN stands united in the fight to secure women’s rights on Human Rights today and every other day of every other year until every woman in our province is truly free, equal and safe!

DAWN has a constitutional and moral duty to speak out and break the silence and shame of all forms of violence against women.

This year we choose to do so with information because, as Carl Jung so accurately observed, “Knowledge is Power”. It is common knowledge that South Africa is the global rape capital of the world.  This means that 1 of every 3 women in this room has or will be raped and that a woman is raped at least every 6 minutes in this, our bloodstained, violent country.

It is also a fact that those who suffer the most in our province are rural black women. This group constitutes 65% of our provincial population. Its members are the most marginalized, neglected, under- or unemployed and impoverished group in the Eastern Cape.

Our Rape Rights DVD aims to equip EC DAWN members to support and protect the rights of rape survivors and battered women.

So, practical physical, medical and legal tips are provided in the Rape Rights DVD together with info on how to lay a charge, what to expect at a Police Station, which medicine to request to prevent unwanted pregnancy and rights to legal abortion and HIV testing at provincial hospitals.

Details of what to expect at court, in a medical examination and the emotional and psychological aftermath of rape are described with suggestions of how to prevent rape.

We undertake to train our DAWN Provincial EXCO to empower and support rape survivors and battered women.

As a Provincial collective of determined, outraged women we endorse Andy Kawa, Rape Crisis and FAMSA and repeat Kwanele nyani! Enough is enough! Genoeg is genoeg!

DAWN calls on our provincial government and all its departments to lead by example.

We will never accept “Sex for Jobs”, not under any circumstances.

DAWN believes the time has come for radical action!

We demand that rape is escalated to a crime of the same status as paedophilia in South Africa!

Let’s have a national data base of murderous, maiming rapists and protect our babies, girls and all the women of this province from being treated like cattle or pieces of meat.

Such commodification is no different from that which kidnaps and sells women and girls as we’ve seen with Boko Haram (BH) in the present and Saartjie Baartman’s total degradation to a living exhibition of sexual difference and otherness as an African woman in the past.

If the ANC–led government of this province and all its departments honestly commit to women’s rights and constitutional democracy then they should release the findings of all Commissions of Enquiry into “Sex for Jobs” today! Human Rights Day is surely the most appropriate opportunity for healing, redress and reconciliation.

So Eastern Cape DAWN calls for total transparency and public access to information regarding all “Sex for Jobs” scandals now – as we close the 2014 “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence” campaign in our province.

If not forthcoming then all the sweet talk, the food parcels, quick repairs of roads and houses are empty promises blowing in the wind like Bob Dylan’s famous lyrics or the Biblical adage of “sound and fury signifying nothing”!

Eastern Cape DAWN demands a register of murderous rapists and open publication of all Commissions of Enquiry findings into the “Sex for Jobs” scandal.

Name and shame the men who rape, murder and mutilate our children, mothers and grandmothers.

Break the silence because “Women’s Rights are Human Rights!”