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Shouting from the Mountaintops to Raise Rape Awareness!

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Kevin with one of the two Memorys
Kevin, took us down "'Memory's"' Lane and showed us how Memory Bandera and Memory Chizhande are helping the youth of Zimbabwe be heard through the Girl Child Network (GCN). Through the GCN, Zimbabwean youth are voicing concern, opions and solutions to their country's growing problem of rape

Women in South African countries face rape all too often. An estimated 25 percent of Namibian wives are raped by their husbands. Despite Namibia's small population of 1.6 million, police estimate that at least one rape occurs every hour. With nearly one thousand cases actually reported every year, the situation is so out of control that there is a growing movement toward legislation that would allow for the castration of rape convicts before being re-released into society. South African girls have suffered several cases of rape-murder and often at the hands of gangs in the past few years. Approximately 3.6 million people are infected with HIV in South Africa and the highest growth rate during the 90's has been among young women.

Southern Africa is not alone in he rising numbers of rape cases.

Every year approximately 132,000 women report that they have been victims of rape or attempted rape, and more than half of them knew their attackers. It's estimated that two to six times that many women are raped, but do not report it. Every year, 1.2 million women are forcibly raped by their current or former male partners, some more than once. (Text taken directly from the National Organization for Women's web site).

So, as we walk down "Memory's" lane we learn that our voices need to be heard in order to educate, and prevent rape. So, what do we do? Do we shout from the mountaintops? Well, we could but let's find a way to shout it out a little close to home.

Creating Pamphlets to Help Prevent Rape and Support Rape Victims

First, we need our three R's. And it's not what you are thinking. Research, Research, and Research! That is our first. step. Grab your yellow note pad or mouse and find out all the information you can about rape awareness, education, prevention, statistics, self-defense, hotlines and crisis centers. Here are some great reference sites:
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network
National WWW Domestic Violence Resources
National Organization for Women
Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood's Teen Wire

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Meet the members of the Girl Child Network at the Zengeza I High School
You can stick to the written word, but you can also find out what your peers are thinking. Hold a discussion group with your classmates and probe questions like the girls from the GCN. For example:
What exactly qualifies as rape?
Why do you think men rape?
What are the possible effects of rape?

Once you have gathered all the info, then it is time to hit the presses! Yes, you get to be the roving reporter you've always dreamed of. Gather your research, any interviews you did and compile your very own pamphlet or newsletter (or even newspaper or magazine!) about Rape Awareness and Education. You can include poetry, resources, facts and figures; it's up to you!

So, now you have this fabulous newsletter what ever are you to do with it? Well, lucky for you there are about a zillion things you can do with it.

  • Organize a rape awareness day or week at your school. Hand out your pamphlets, bring in guest speakers, and hold forums for discussion
  • Hand out your pamphlets at local youth community centers and educate the youth of your community!
  • Keep pamphlets stocked up in your school's counseling center
  • Take pamphlets to after school programs
  • Give presentations in your classes

And you never know, you could create a Pulitzer Prize winning piece all the while helping to spread the word about rape awareness and education. OK, a Pulitzer might be pushing it, but it's all about "'Making a Difference!"'

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Shawn - Mystic Fortunes of Great Zimbabwe
Monica - Visit with a Freedom Fighter: Talking About the Past, Looking Towards the Future

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