DAY 15: South African Prison Rape Survivors Speak Out


Share their powerful stories

Campaign member Sonke Gender Justice shares the stories of three exceptionally brave men who have come forward to tell their stories about surviving rape in South Africa's prisons. These survivors want to bring their experiences out of the shadows and are demanding action.

Vincent, Francois and Thabo are the first South African survivors of prisoner rape to tell their stories in this way:

>> READ the full story on our The Huffington Post blog

>> LISTEN to their testimony:

Vincent* tells how he was raped by two gang members in an overcrowded cell in a Western Cape awaiting trial facility. This was his very first sexual experience. Vincent asked for help from nurses, wardens, priests, social workers, and even a magistrate who all rejected him and told him to expect this treatment in prison. He only received medical attention three years after he was raped when he was sentenced, and then learned he was HIV-positive as a result of the rape. Vincent calls on the Department of Correctional Services to stop this from happening to others, and encourages survivors to speak up. After telling his story, Vincent feels stronger than before, and says "I know I have a purpose in this life." *Name changed

Francois was violently raped twice in an Eastern Cape correctional centre, once at knife-point, and on Valentine's Day he was raped a second time. He reported the rapes to the warders, but never received counseling or support. In despair, Francois attempted suicide. After being released, he sued the Department of Correctional Services, and after 10 years he accepted a settlement offer based on the promise that they would take action to stop inmates from being raped. When nothing changed, Francois decided to tell his story. Francois encourages other survivors to seek help and says "I know I can make it because I'm a survivor." 

Thabo*, from Limpopo, went to prison when he was 21 years old and was repeatedly raped during the decade he spent behind bars. He attempted suicide but survived, unlike three other inmates he knew who were raped then took their own lives. Experiencing serious trauma and shame, Thabo struggles to interact with people. He says he left prison with a lesson and an illness (HIV). The biggest weight he has carried is that nobody in his family knows what happened to him. *Name changed

>> SHARE their stories: 

FACEBOOK: South African prison rape survivors speak out for the first time. Hear and share their powerful stories, compiled by Sonke Gender Justice for the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict's #16Days blog >> http// 

TWITTER: South African prison rape survivors speak out for the first time >> @SonkeTogether @StopRapeCmpgn #16Days


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The International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict
1 Nicholas Street, Suite 430, Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7 Canada    Phone: +1.613.569.8400    Fax: +1.613.691.1419

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