Registered Student Organization- University of California, Berkeley
Founder/ President: Yasmine Kasra
Officers: Burooj Mahmood, Mallory Hill, Helen Lee
Established September 2018
Sexual violence in South Africa is among the highest in the world. The armed struggle against apartheid and the violent suppression that followed normalized violence in South African societies. Male dominated social and political systems coupled with a culture of aggression. Children grew up seeing violence in their streets on a daily basis.
Under an apartheid system, only the rape of white women was prosecuted while the rape of black women was socially accepted as a part of life. Sexual violence, including abducting girls from classrooms, was a way of diminishing the potential threat of gender power relations. Men maintained control over assets and resources. Victims of rape are often excluded from family life and forced to seek prostitution as a means of support. HIV infection is an increased risk for raped women. With an end to apartheid, it is up to the new government to enforce more equitable laws.
During the country’s transition period between 1992 and 1994 under the Women’s National Coalition women were demanding to be included in the negotiation process and in designing the foundation of the new democracy. However, high unemployment rates and poverty left people exposed to social stressors. One in four women are victims of rape whether it be by a stranger or family member. Continued activism around women’s issues have been short lived and a need for state intervention must happen. In 2016, #EndRapeCulture protests led by women erupted in universities across South Africa, well before the #MeToo movement. However, even this movement fell away from the public eye until the newest resistance mobilized #TheTotalShutdown which became a national gender based movement which included the LGBT Community. With all these movements, what is preventing permanent change? There is still a lack of political will to tackle sexual violence and state agencies such as the police are slow to investigate and often become complicit if not corrupt.
Universities across the globe have the power to institute change.
RAPrEvention has teamed up with the non-profit organization Rape-aXe, the developer of a female condom used to prevent rape in countries such as South Africa where sexual violence is the norm and political policy has failed to protect victims. RAPrEvention works alongside Rape-aXe and will be developing their website into multiple languages, assisting with funding for the prototype through crowd sourcing, and reaching out to professors interested in addressing the topic of rape prevention. RAPrEvention aims to not only educate students about sexual violence but to also create a system of early identification of potential perpetrators through outreach projects.