Reverend June Dolley-Major embarking on a long walk to Makhanda for GBV awareness
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Cape Town - Two local anti-gender-based violence and femicide activists are set to embark on a multi-purpose walk from Cape Town to Makhanda (previously Grahamstown) to raise awareness and funds for survivors and victims.
Headed by Reverend June Dolley-Major, the walk is expected to commence on September 20 at Sir Lowry's Pass, to the town where her alleged rape occurred, nearly 19 years ago.
Dolley-Major will be joined by Elsies River activist Celesthea Pierang for the “Try Walking in my Shoes, the Shoes of a Rape Survivor” campaign.
The two hope to reach their destination by October 30, and will only be walking during the day.
“We have fears doing this walk. It's two women walking across two provinces, Western and the Eastern Cape provinces on the N2. Knowing that we are in the middle of a femicide, that women are not safe anywhere, whether at the post office or place of worship, getting into an Uber. We are safe absolutely nowhere,” said Dolley-Major.
She appealed to the public to join and walk with them along the route to show support.
Earlier this month, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa Diocese of Cape Town tribunal into the alleged rape concluded.
“Even though it was a tribunal and not a criminal case, you saw how I got vilified, and the focus was not so much on the rape, but the focus gets put back on the victim or survivor, and you get ripped apart.
“You get raped by the system once again, and so part of the walk and part of me going very public, is to show everyone that this is how a survivor gets treated. You get vilified, body-shamed, victim blamed. It becomes about you, and not about the rapist,” said Dolley-Major.
The walk is also to raise funds for an advice and resource centre for survivors. Dolley-Major has appealed to the public to donate towards the walk, as well as to provide accommodation along the way.
Pierang said: “We are doing it to raise awareness around the injustice that victims and survivors go through in South Africa, and about gender-based violence. So this walk is a healing journey, but for every rape survivor out there. I feel honoured and privileged that Reverend June invited me along. It's a cause that is very close to my heart.”