Spoken word poetry: Survivor Reilly

By Duncan Reyneke

This girl from outside the chemist one day put her name in my cell phone. Got me on the offside -
an unusual frankness.
Reilly. I hadn’t ever seen that name before. Weird, right? Seems no matter where I go now, I meet people with that name, but for twenty eight years, nothing in print, radio, or cinema.
Turns out, coverage was a bigger problem for her than that, though.

What we got immediately out of the way was that she was gay as the day was beautiful. A studious red haired blade edge, she’d cut through the tape of the highschool punks and driver’s test discriminazzi with a warm bullet of a smile. She was the perfect storm of fast talking and late night book grinding, a talent sinkhole that pulled her into varsity on three different scholarships and a recommendation from every teacher she ever had.

I was flunking maths for the second year in a row. We became best friends within a matter of months.

Have a listen/read at Soundcloud.

Stand with us on 19 April

Hi everyone,

Thank you so, so much for coming forward and offering to lend a hand. The response has been such that I have decided to post here, but please do email me as well if you want to get involved: chair@genderactionproject.org

You can get more general information on the Silent Protest and what we stand for here: http://rusilent.com/about/

For the first time, we are hoping to go national in a big way. In order to do this, we need leaders in different towns to take up this project. In some ways this is similar to the Slutwalk model, but with one major difference – I believe we should all be involved in a cross-protest conversation, rather than each operating in isolation. We are united in this project to #StopRape, so let’s work together and talk together in a dialogue.

The Silent Protest is on 19 April. I am hoping that we can all protest, across South Africa, on that day.

The team leader(s) for a city or town will mobilise people in their city. I will try to give as much assistance as possible from where I am, but ultimately it is up to you in your city to get the protest together.

We don’t have the money to provide financial support, but we can offer advice from our experiences and help to facilitate the cross-protest dialogue.

The format of the Silent Protest will be different in each town, but these are the key elements: first, general protesters will wear the Silent Protest shirt and tape their mouths shut from morning to evening. This is a symbolic action in solidarity with rape survivors who are silenced, either because of stigma, fear of retaliation, or death. As someone who has been a silent protester and a rape survivor in the Silent Protest, I feel the experience of being physically silent and of fasting for the day is the closest non-survivors will come to even begin to understand what we go through. I feel this is an important part of being able to empathise with survivors, and to truly stand in solidarity.

Second, survivors that want to can wear the ‘Rape Survivor’ t-shirt. No one is in any way obligated to wear this shirt, and survivors need to know that it is a gruelling, tough experience. Please don’t wear the shirt unless you have a support network, or truly know you can handle it. There is nothing wrong with not wearing the shirt.

Third, in the late/afternoon evening protesters march to a pre-determined location, where there will be a ‘de-briefing’. The de-briefing is a safe space for survivors to come forward and talk about their experiences, as well as ‘general’ protesters to voice their opinions on the protest and rape. I guess that for Cape Town, the meeting point can be Parliament, while in Gauteng it could be the Union Buildings or perhaps Luthuli House. What are your thoughts on this?

First of all – where are you from, and do you have the time to be a team leader? I will put volunteer leaders in touch with each other, as well as other volunteers who can only help here and there. Every little bit helps!

Please drop any questions or suggestions you have in the comments, or email me.

The power is in your hands. RIP Anene Booysen, and solidarity with all the unknown victims and survivors of sexual violence.

Updates in progress

Hi everyone,

We are in the process of updating and revamping the Silent Protest website, and should be done in the next couple of days. If you have any queries about the protest, please drop Michelle an email at chair@genderactionproject.org

RIP Anene

Anene Booysen, a 17 year old girl, was gang rape and left for dead in Bredasdorp this week. She lived long enough to identify one of her attackers before dying of her severe injuries.

Twitter had it’s usual dramatic outrage. But there were also some really beautiful, poignant and sad tweets in response to her death. I’ve collated them here.

- Michelle Solomon, Chair, Gender Action Project

[View the story "RIP Anene" on Storify]

Check out the Mail & Guardian’s storify also: http://storify.com/mg_reporter/twitter-responds-to-western-cape-gang-rape

Morning march, 23 March 2012

Picture: Robynne Peatfield.

In the morning of 23 March, over 1 500 people gathered in Rhodes University’s Alec Mullins Hall. Students and staff started to arrive in small groups from 6am. By 6.30am, the venue was teeming with people. As the gathered students and staff collected their shirts from tables attended by volunteers, the crowd slowly turned into […]


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