Close to 100 students from Stellenbosch University gathered on the Rooiplein today (8 April 2016) at 12:30 to break a five day silent protest against rape and sexual crimes.
The student movement, #RedtAPE have taped their mouths shut the past week in solidarity with the victims of rape and sexual violence whose voices are often not heard or who are too scared or ashamed to speak about what had happened to them.
This protest is one of many similar actions taken on campus by students the past weeks in relation to rape and rape culture on campus. It also comes after the rape of a resident of Heemstede last weekend and an earlier incident at Harmonie Women's Residence where a student was attacked and raped.
Lea Koekemoer, one of the organisers of the #RedtAPE movement, made an appeal to students to sign a petition in which management is requested to improve safety measures on campus. "This petition will circulate at residences on campus and will probably also be available on social media. gevra word om veiligheidsmaatreëls op kampus te verskerp," Koekemoer said.
She further said some of their requests include patrols and transport along the cluster routes, panic buttons for students, a bigger security presence on campus and a toll free crisis line that victims of sexual crimes can use.
"If we can prevent one rape through this (the protest), it was worth it," she said at the gathering.
Ashanti Kunene performed one of her poems in which she reiterated the fact that No means No. The SU Choir officially broke the silence with a moving rendition of the traditional African song, Indodana.