Following the horrific rape of Anene Booysen, there's been a renewed outcry against sexual violence in South Africa. On 14 and 15 February, protestors in SA and around the world wore black to draw attention to the plight of rape victims.
The next step, of course, is keeping up the fight – here's how.
Help to make the fight against rape a national priority by signing this petition calling on president Jacob Zuma to launch a Comission of Inquiry into how gender-based violence can be prevented.
Support Rape Crisis Cape Town: sponsor a heart for just R100 to provide urgently-needed funding for an organisation that offers confidential counseling, legal advice and other support to survivors of sexual violence in Cape Town and surrounding areas.
THREE, FOUR AND FIVE
Visit The Jes Foord Foundation's website to make a donation or become a member. You could also donate toileteries and other items for The Handbag Project, which the Foundation established to bring comfort to survivors of sexual violence, or donate a home game to Rugby Against Rape – a project which aims to use one of the country's favourite sports to raise awareness about rape.
Want to donate the valuable gift of time rather than money? Find out what it takes to become a volunteer.
Raise money for your local crisis centre. Get together with your friends and sell your old clothes (you might not wear them anymore, but that doesn't meant that someone else won't think they're fabulous!) or host a dinner party at home – in exchange food and the pleasure of your company, each guest donates R50 – everyone wins, and every bit helps.
If you're thinking long-term and have time to dedicate to the cause, consider interning with Sonke Gender Justice, an organisation that works with men to break the cycle of gender-based violence.
Protest. Maybe you feel like wearing black or holding up a sign isn't helping, but getting people to notice an occurence that's often hidden, and getting them thinking, are important steps. Changing laws can't stop rape from happening, but changing attitudes can – which brings us to our next point.
Talk about it. Changing perceptions about gender-based violence is something that all of us can do, so know your facts about a problem that's devastatingly widespread and help to set misconceptions straight. Two to start with? The idea that it's only women who are raped, and the notion that rape victims are in any way to blame for what's happened to them.
If you know someone who's been affected by sexual abuse, help her or him by being there to listen when they're ready to talk about what they've been through. If you're the survivor of a sexual attack, confide in someone you trust. For the details of help centres in your area or to get counselling information, call the national helpline for those affected by sexual abuse on 0800 150 150.