Citizen. Speak. Amplify.

A letter from one rape survivor to another

The news of the #RapeAtJunction encouraged an anonymous rape survivor to write a letter of solidarity to fellow survivors.

To the *womxn who was raped at UKZN PMB at the start of the Fees Must Fall protest. My friends and I were enraged when we heard about your rape. We considered ourselves feminists. We, like many others on campuses across this country planned protests in solidarity with you.

It was a few weeks after your rape that I was raped.

Solidarity.

Soon after my rape, you were all I could think of. Solidarity – the solidarity of marches and petitions. We show solidarity for some things by closing down campuses. I was sorry we hadn’t done more.

I was raped in prison, we did not have the privilege like many other institutions of lawyers on speed dial. We were denied bail the day of our arrest. I didn’t need to wait long, or to count my days as a political prisoner for my tragedy. I was raped on my first day. It was too quick for me to scream, to surreal for me to understand. Rape 101 procedure wasn’t an option I had.

Every time I have thought about telling any other people, I have thought about how, in the plight of fees, your trauma suddenly disappeared. We are injured soldiers in battle, are we not?

The day finally came, when I needed to speak to someone. Anyone. My only reach was Johannesburg, I did not have the numbers of the womxn I called that day. In fear of being asked why I wanted their numbers, I Googled, attempted Facebook, Twitter follows and looked on Whatsapp groups.

The day I called my sisters, was the day they “showed up”. They met me with hugs, a cry, an offer to smoke and then we danced to Lebo Mathosa as we drove.

As if I hadn’t called random strangers and told them I too was 1 in 3. I remembered you. We remembered you.

That first night with them, we called on the names of the womxn we know who have died at the hands of rapists. They both seemed to have lists they couldn’t erase.

Solidarity. The ones who chose to remember you, when the world chooses to forget you.

Solidarity.

To the womxn who was raped at Junction. It was upon seeing the hashtag that I decided to write this.

I do not know who who are. As you do not know who I am. As we don’t know who the #UKZNSurvivor is.

But I believe you.

There is a community of womxn who believe you.

For those of us who came to universities to get degrees, fought stun grenades, crossed borders to get our rape survivor stories.

I believe you.

*Editor’s note: The “x” in “womxn” is a gender-neutral replacement for “a” or “e”, therefore includes everyone.

Featured image by Kwazi Dlamini

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