Picture: Yasmine Jacobs/IOL

Cape Town - A large crowd have gathered at the University of Cape Town to stand in solidarity and protest with sexual assault victims and rape survivors.

The organisers of this day-long protest are Aids Healthcare Foundation, UCT survivors and  UCT Sexual Assault Response Team.

This effective silent protest saw the taping of mouths and a silent march through the campus. 

Then there was a 'die-in'. This was the symbolic memorial for those who were raped and murdered due to gender-based violence.

They then broke the silence with shouts demanding for justice.

Dela Gwala, representative from UCT Survivors explained the importance of the march. "We live in a society of victim blaming and undermining survivors," and this march is to assure people that they are not alone, Gwala said.

She explained that a huge issue is under-reporting. There is still a large number of unreported cases.

UCT Survivors only exist because of the lagging response to the sexual violence. Sexual offenses have not been dealt with as they should have been.

"This is the first time we have opportunity to trace and moniter these cases to let us get better grip of these cases," said Lillian Artz from the chaiperson of UCT's Sexual Response Team.

Larissa Klazinga, the regional policy and advocacy manager of the Aids Healthcare Foundation of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) after a rape has taken place.

PEP is short course of antiretroviral (ARV) medication administered after someone has been raped.

To be effective, PEP must be taken as soon as possible within two hours and later than 72 hours after exposure.

"We need to ensure people have access to post-exposure prophylaxis. That they know it exists, that they know it is their right to access it. And how too take the medication properly."

Protests such as this one has reached far beyond South African borders.

Guatemala, Jamaica, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda have all had silent protests against gender-based violence.