This one hits close to home. I cannot even remember the number of rape protests I’ve attended at Nelson Mandela University (NMU) with the cry for one thing which is protection of my female body. I’ve been here since 2016, marching since 2016, but when has NMU ever prioritized women’s safety?
All we ever get is a correspondence talking about how the matter is “receiving attention” and that of how awareness in the form of initiatives continue to run to combat the matter. How is it that for 3 years we have been talking regularly, normalising a dark side to university life, walking over issues of rape and continuing with life after the momentum that came with a hashtag and a march has died?
It is obvious that the security at our residences is under-equipped to deal with the repeated accounts of rape experienced by students. The initiatives and campaigns that were launched for such purposes are clearly out of the question. So, what must a student do now? How do we stop the rape cycle in our own safe spaces? A place that is intended primarily for privacy and habitation?
A student has been raped in her own room by another student of the same university, and now as we shut down the University and beg once again for protection, the student will be the one who must bump into their rapist at a test venue or at the gym, while investigations are pending right?
Rape is a real thing, as real as the way a victim is treated afterwards.
Stop brushing this off until the next one happens, stop keeping us silent by giving empty promises simply because of our vulnerability. Something has really got to be done.
Enough has been enough, we are exhausted.
Are our cries not being heard simply because of our communication, or are our cries just being blatantly ignored?
Image by Tembelihle Menziwa