Silent protest against rape culture

Protesters at the Rise Against Rape rally at Aotea Square in central Auckland.
Protesters at the Rise Against Rape rally at Aotea Square in central Auckland.

Around 80 people gathered to protest against a global culture of rape in Auckland's Aotea square this afternoon.

Inspired to act by the brutal rape and murder of Jyoti Singh Pandey on a bus in Delhi, India, on 16 December 2012, the Shakti Community Council organised a silent protest to show solidarity with the women's struggle in India.

The silent protest was used to illustrate how "words cannot express the pain and rage we have been carrying in our hearts since the loss of our sisters."

New Zealand has its own culture of sexual violence against women, protestors said.

"I think there is a culture of domestic violence, sexual violence against women in New Zealand. I think New Zealand men have a belief of rights to take a woman if they want to," said Angela McInerney.

New Zealand ranks eighth in the world in rapes per capita according to a 2010 report on international crime by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, (although rape statistics are greatly affected by underreporting).

Alcohol was a major issue in attacks against women in New Zealand, said McInerney, who as a young woman had been taken advantage of by an older man after he gave her alcohol.

"In New Zealand the drinking culture has a lot to do with it, for men who perpetrate violence. Alcohol makes (women) more vulnerable but they are not inviting and that it is a big difference," she said.

"I think there needs to be more voice from men, how to stop each other from raping," she said.

One man making his support for women felt agreed.

"I think it is not only women's responsibility to speak up against not only rape, but general violence against women, because the perpetrators are men," said Raj Maharjan.

"If men like me came in numbers then good women who are doing such things can see that also men are behind us and all men are not like this," he said.

Many protesters wore black scarves around their mouths and carried signs that read "Justice for Jyoti," and "You rape, we chop."